I received this copy through Goodreads First Reads. This is my third Goodreads First Reads review. I gave this book a rating of four stars. This review can also be found on Goodreads.
The premise of this book is beautiful; the author found her grandfather’s poetry hidden away in an attic. This discovery led to not only a family treasure, but an inside look at mid-western America. Mary F. Lachman’s grandfather, Grover Clayton, was a dentist in a small town in Indiana. The poems throughout this book span from the 1920’s to the 1940’s.
Lachman begins the book with an introduction, a short summary of Indiana during this time period, and a summary of the relevant family history. She also peppers her own childhood memories of Indiana throughout the narrative, some of which do seem out of place. I found the way the family history was presented slightly confusing, even with the genealogy listed in the back. I found it amazing that the author can trace her family to the eighteenth century. I loved the fact that she included pictures of G.W. Clayton and the family. In this sense, the reading experience becomes the action of holding someone’s history in your hands.
Clayton’s education from Union Christian College is reflected in his traditional poems. With most of his poems in rhythmic couplets or ABAB format, I as the reader felt drawn toward the subject matter, which spanned from religion to a sense of wonderment at the beauty of nature. Other themes include love and loss.
My favorite poems included “Campfires”, “A Wish”, “Human Cloth”, “Longing” (A poem written by Clayton and his wife), and “Twilight.”
There were some grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors throughout the text. An edit note seems to have been made on page 155, “(check date).”
This book is cemented further as a family heirloom as the author’s son provided inner illustrations as well as the cover. The illustrations, history, verses, and anecdotes all come together to create a slice of American history.
Picture from Amazon.