Ghostbread

Jack helps little girl

When Jim Mott was staying with us last Spring he mentioned that his wife, Sonja, had just released a new book about growing up in Rochester, New York. I ordered it from Amazon while we stood there. Jim said we could meet Sonja the next week at an art opening at the Oxford Gallery where he had would be showing some paintings. We went to the opening but we had the wrong night so we never connected.

Leighton Avenue, Bowman Street, Grand Avenue, Lamont Place and two locations on East Main near Culver. I know every one of the streets that Sonya Livingston mentions in “Ghostbread”. My parents lived upstairs in an apartment on Alexander and Main when I was born. We were right around the corner from Corpus Christi where Sonya spends so much time. I was baptized there. My family moved east of Culver to Brookfield and we lived there for ten years, right across from the Kirby Vacuum Center that Sonya talks about in her opening pages. Later, Peggi and I lived across from East High for twenty six years. We were only a few blocks away from most of what happens in this gorgeous memoir but we were a world away as well. Like Sonya I played Mass with my siblings but my six siblings all had the same father and he lived with us and provided for and nurtured us. The extreme differences in her circumstances in such close proximity is only part of what makes this book so engrossing.

Sonja’s chapters are short, sometimes only a page but they are so efficiently packed and carefully crafted they knock me out. Some nights I found I could read only a few chapters before wanting to set the book down, close my eyes and savor the exquisite setting. I suggested my mom bring this book to the next meeting of her book club.

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One Response to “Ghostbread”

  1. Laura Ribas Says:

    Hello! Found your blog via Jim Mott’s Facebook page. While I never lived in that area, I am roughly the same age so some of the stories hit home with me (e.g., the alphabet murders, Oh Mighty Isis). I couldn’t agree with your synopsis more. Albeit heart wrenching in parts, I loved it. It’s a beautifully written, page turner with so much packed into each chapter that, at times, it’s difficult to continue without pondering what just took place. Highly recommended. Hope your mom’s book club enjoys it!

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Laura Ribas