Sunday, August 4, 2013
Book Review: Five Fingers Ten Toes by Katie Kolberg Memmel
Author: Katie Kolberg Memmel
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Kindle for iPad
This book would be rated: G
Most of the time, it's hard for me as a reader to separate the writer's craft with the story itself. I think this is because I read a lot of fiction, and the manner of telling the story is often integral to that story. However, Five Fingers Ten Toes is an example of a book where the information presented is fascinating (to me, as the parent of a child with limb differences) but the craft of Memmel's storytelling detracted from the story itself.
I have to give Katie Memmel a lot of props for writing the story of raising her son Tony, who was born without a left forearm and hand. Tony, now a musician and an accomplished guitarist, has certainly lived a remarkable life, and his mother's experiences undoubtedly helped shape that life. But this is a book written by a mom with a story, not by a writer. For example, she starts the book with an extended discussion of why she decided not to attend college, which is something that doesn't seem to have much relevance to the rest of the story. She goes on to talk at length about family vacations, etc... These details, while possibly interesting to someone who knows the family, was not interesting to an average reader. That said, there is such a dearth of stories written by parents of kids with limb differences that I do feel that reading about Memmel's experience was useful. She talked a lot about the community of parents of children with birth defects, and she's definitely contributing to that community in a meaningful way. But reading this book also gave me some indication that I might be able to do something similar and to do it well.