As a “sixty-something” who often finds herself reading memoir (May Sarton, Anne Morrow Lindbergh) I had rather high expectations for this book. I was not disappointed. The book in fact inspired and nudged me to once again take up the practice of journaling. The book begins as the author is in her sixty-first year. At this stage of her life, she yearns to “prune my life so that the strength flows into fewer branches.” She honestly chronicles challenges—emotional, financial, physical, mental—and coping mechanisms. Certainly writing—i.e., journal keeping—is one of those mechanisms. In the section ” If You Want to Keep a Journal,” she advises that a journal “should be a wise friend who helps you create your own enlightenment.” Let the writing and the pruning begin!
– Cedar Falls, IA
A beautifully written book, this book makes me think every time I pick it up. I read memoirs hoping to learn something about how to deal with the curve balls life throws at me, and this book helped me springboard from her journal entries to situations in my own life. Theroux has also written some lovely essays which I have read.
– San Carlos, CA
My shelves are overflowing with books, so much so that I can’t keep them all; however, I will keep and treasure this book. The Journal Keeper is a thought provoking, sometimes depressing, sometimes uplifting read. I have highlighted many passages, and each time I pick it up, I find more to highlight. The everyday events of the author’s life are intertwined with her writing life. Her themes are universal and honest. I learned from and often identified with this extraordinary memoir.
– Roswell, BA
The Journal Keeper is a book for people who like to reflect while reading, whether it be on their own personal lives when something in Theroux’s own experiences resonates or on the bigger picture of the world around us. I earmarked a large number of pages so that I can go back and delve more deeply into interesting tidbits, stories, quotes. It seems to be a great book for a writers’ group or writing program. It inspired me to pick journaling back up. I really enjoyed reading this book!
– Roswell, GA
The Journal Keeper has been a personal book of inspiration for me. The writing is marvelous. It is for everyone. If I had had the opportunity to read it years ago I might have been able to hear my own voice. The Journal Keeper has given voice to the silence within me. It has led me to offer it as a gift to many women in my life and as one of them said last night when we were talking about the book and the author, The Journal Keeper is like a warm blanket I can wrap myself in every night. I eagerly anticipate turning the pages and being swept away by the author’s life and wisdom.” I believe she captured it perfectly. Few books have had such a profound impact on me. There are classics, yes, but The Journal Keeper deserves a shelf of its own. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone, it is the perfect gift because it’s meant to be shared – just as the author shared a glimpse of her inner soul with all of us.
– Laguna Niguel, CA
This book carries all the wit and charm of the writer herself, as anyone who knows Phyllis will tell you. That is just “it” about Phyllis–she can let you feel like you really know her, as she does on the pages of “The Journal Keeper”. By cutting and pasting the vignettes from her diary/journal, we traverse a six year period in her life from 2000-2006. I was astonished and delighted at the surprises, treasures and secrets she revealed. The great gift of this book: it will make you want to write. With words, she is able to bless everyday, ordinary moments and make them sacred.
– Glen Allen, VA
It’s a charming book. I love the way she weaves together numerous places — Ashland, VA, Carmel, CA, San Francisco, Washington, even Italy — and numerous people. Her descriptions, framed by a meticulous wordsmith, are rich in imagination and thoughtful in perception. But it is her insights into the human dimension, sometimes gentle, sometimes less so, which make the book meaningful, as she addresses relationships, writing, illness, aging. In the end she writes a love story, and we are touched and uplifted. Can all journals be so inspiring?
– Carmel, CA
If there was one word to describe The Journal Keeper it would be `rich’. Phyllis’ wit and insights into the very ordinariness of our lives leap off the page into the very centre of my heart. From cover to cover it is a courageous journey borne of experience and a celebration of life.
– Toronto, ON (Canada)
It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a book and immediately fell in love. This is THE book I’ve been searching for for months now and didn’t know it. Only half way through (I’m purposely taking my time, like savoring a delicious homecooked meal) but already I count it as one of my ten most treasured, alongside writings by CS Lewis, Elizabeth Gilbert, Henri Nouwen and others. In a home shared with my husband of 30 years, 3 teenage boys, and mother age 75 who has just come to live with us, I feel that Phyllis Theroux warmly invites me into her corner of life to share a cup of tea and precious words of wisdom each time I open the book. She empathizes, affirms, rebukes and encourages me all in one fell swoop. Who could ask for more? I can’t wait to get my hands on all her other writings!
– Amarillo, TX
At this point in my life, with three active sons and a full-time job, I just can’t find the time to keep a journal of my own. Fortunately, I had the great good fortune to be a journal READER when I was given a copy of Phyllis Theroux’s The Journal Keeper. I managed to read the entire book in two sittings, and I found myself laughing and crying by turns. The writing itself is beautiful, and the glimpses of a life not my own quite thought-provoking. Pour yourself a cup of tea, curl up in your favorite chair with this book, and prepare to be mesmerized. It is a read well worth your time, even if, like me, you have very little time to spare.
I spent one whole night reading this book while a lashing rainstorm was practically upending cars out the window and barely noticed the weather activity. This is one of those books you sink into. It’s comforting and provocative and hilarious in places. (A conversation between the mother and a friend stands out there.) The author reminds me a little of Abigail Thomas, in the way she spins out a mesmerizing world, and also because her writing is just beautiful: “the scrubbing sound of surf.” I’m bumping this one up to the top of my book club’s list.
– New York, NY
I suspect you will discover parts of yourself in this book. Her words touched my own poignant feelings about my new role as a mother of adult children and helped me to better understand my relationship with my mother.
What a treasure! There is truth and uplift in this delightful memoir. What an antidote for all the negitivism that abounds.