Taking a cue from the Mexican Day of the Dead, on which they build altars to deceased loved ones, ""tell the sad stories and the noble ones... celebrate and mourn at once,"" author and NPR personality Winik (Rules for the Unruly) chronicles her life through glimpses of the late members of her adopted Pennsylvania home, Glen Rock, who have influenced her over the years. Most are friends of friends and the like; a few others are artists and authors. An eye doctor who passed away when she was a child, for example, had been a friend of the family, a former classmate of her father, and among the first deaths that touched Winik personally. She talks of neighbors who committed suicide, men who died of drug overdoses and women who battled cancer; she writes also of ""The Art Star,"" Keith Haring, whose ""adorable symbology-the crawling baby, the barking dog, the blowjobs and dolphins... made perfect sense to me the moment I saw it."" (""I must have taken the same acid he did at a Grateful Dead concert when we were fifteen."") Winik treats her subjects with grace, sensitivity and a great deal of her own personality, bringing to brief life the known and unknown, giving each a fitting tribute and the town itself a winning pageant.
Reviewed on: 11/03/2008 Release date: 11/01/2008 Genre: Nonfiction