REVIEW: LOOKING BACK: A BOOK OF MEMORIES, BY LOIS LOWRY

looking-back-cover-galleycatLooking Back: A Book of MemoriesWritten by Lois Lowry
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Lois Lowry’s 1998 autobiography, Looking Back, was a fascinating and unique but flawed life history. It had an appealing feel, akin to sitting around in Lowry’s living room, sifting through boxes of photos and letters, with Lowry filling in back stories as you went along. It was, for lack of a better term, a bit ramshackle, unfolding the way memories do, one leading into another, with certain reflections distracting from others, leading to tangents and further memories.

Fascinating, basically.

But it also suffered from the structure, with certain people popping up without being fleshed out. A lot of points were left unanswered, which works fine in fiction, but kind of defeats the purpose of autobiography.

Interest in Lowry has risen in the past few years, following the 2014 film adaptation of her seminal work, The Giver.

A good time, then, to revisit Looking Back; and a welcome revisit it is.

Filling in many of the holes from the first edition, but admirably maintaining the casual feel, anybody interested in the life of the author would be well served to pick this up. Not only does the book delve in to her personal life, but it makes clear many of the ties between her personal life and her professional subject matter.

Autobiographies by fiction authors are often dead ends, as though the writers are saving their best stuff for their real work, but Lowry treats Looking Back as another chance to flex her creativity. She also rewards her fans with a piece that provides serious illumination of her bibliography; reading Looking Back will make Lowry’s fiction more resonant.

A must read for fans of Lowry and compelling biography.


Kinderlit received a copy of Looking Back: A Book of Memories in exchange for an honest review. Read our Review Policy HERE.

 

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