LEANING INTO THE WIND: A Memoir of Midwest Weather

Susan Allen Toth, Author . Univ. of Minnesota $22.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8166-4262-5

In today's turbulent world, there's certainly something to be said for Toth's almost fervent passion for the most universal of good old American topics: the weather. In this compilation of personal essays, she takes our favorite "stuff" to fill awkward silences or interchanges by the office water cooler and makes it feel meaningful, even deep. At its best, this deepening of an American obsession is intriguing. At its worst, Toth's inexhaustible attempt to use weather as a metaphor for the turmoil in her own life is like two weeks of record heat in July. At first you are amused, put on your bathing suit, maybe even get a tan. By day six, however, you are far less amused by the same sun glaring down on you every time you try to step outside to run an errand. One hundred twenty-four pages of Toth's parallels between her own reactions to various weather conditions and greater truths about her personality and those of her loved ones is, ultimately, boring. Toth's intentions are good; she identifies her passions (previously she published a trilogy on England) and then uses them as the framework to tell her own stories. Her prose is well crafted and meticulously edited, but no amount of refinement can change the bottom line: this memoir is best left for a rainy day. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 124 pages - 978-0-8166-4263-2
Open Ebook - 138 pages - 978-0-8166-9547-8
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