Recently I was offered an opportunity as a principal with Something or Other Publishing. My position entails both pre-release book reviews and interviews with their authors at two points through their publishing journey.
Today, I had the opportunity to review a book by one of their already published authors, Eric Mondschein.
The book is titled Life at 12 College Road and is a memoir of vignettes, each a memory, a snippet in time of Eric’s childhood.
I wasn’t too far into the book when I began to imagine Eric sitting in an overstuffed chair, retelling his boyhood memories to grandchildren. His style is effortless. His use of first person narrative gives the work such a personal feel. The writing is honest and easy, no five-dollar words, no pretension, no theatrics.
But, what I took away from the read even more than the simplicity, were the stories themselves. Eric shares each step of what made him the man he is today through candid, humorous and sometimes sad memories. Within his vignettes, he shares his lesson of loss (Brownie), the observation of unconditional love (The Salad Bowl), subliminal but permanent change (Christmas Morning), sadness (Jonathan Thad), mischief (The Sitter). One story in particular offers a glimpse of the change from boy to man in the last line (Camping in the Backwoods). He covers sibling rivalry, adventure and the triumphs and tribulations of growing up.
*In order to preserve the read for those who have not had the pleasure, I refer only to the vignette titles without going into detail of the content.
While reading (The Car in the Driveway), I had flashbacks of my own childhood and some of the situations my brother, sister and I found ourselves in. Some of his stories are reminiscent of an old Huck Finn tale, humorous, but not without a lesson learned. This work speaks of a simpler time, a time long gone and sorely missed.
Although I think any age group would enjoy this book, I believe it holds special meaning to anyone who grew up in the same era. Life at 12 College Road is a Norman Rockwell painting in words.
Kathy Reinhart is the award-winning author of Lily White Lies among other titles. Learn more about her and her work below.