Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn

 

You wouldn’t think a memoir consisting of someone else’s family stories would be all that interesting, but Kathleen Flinn had me hanging on each and every account in her memoir Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good. I connected with her immediately, and while reading I often thought of my own parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

Humorous, lighthearted anecdotes are seamlessly interspersed with touching, more serious accounts. Reading about the real, personal experiences of life during the Great Depression and the Korean War was fascinating, and I won’t forget those stories.

Flinn’s parents are just amazing. They are such hard workers, tirelessly doing what needed to be done to take care of the family. They had a very egalitarian marriage and made an incredible team. “If you say you believe that life should be full of adventures, then you have to be willing to let your kids have them, too.” Whether it was a naive stint raising 250 chicks or their enthusiastic involvement in the local German-American club (despite having no German background whatsoever), adventure always seemed to know where to find the Flinns.

I alternately laughed and cried throughout the book. And the ending? The ending was just perfect. She could not have wrapped up the memoir any better. I was deeply moved by how, as a child, Flinn found strength through reading a beloved novel during an impossibly difficult time.

This is a multi-generational comfort read for anyone who enjoys memoirs. Foodies will appreciate how each chapter ends with related recipes, such as the one below (which I really want to try). Loved this book!