Morningstar by Ann Hood

(5 / 5)

In Morningstar, Ann Hood recounts her youth growing up in a small town in Rhode Island. Her immigrant family were not readers, and there wasn’t an abundance of money. But at a young age, Ann fell in love with books. She was encouraged to read by a teacher, and so began her love affair with all things reading. The bigger the better.

Morningstar tells how us how books shaped her life from an early age. One of the most poignant stories includes growing up during the Vietnam War where every night Walter Cronkite would announce the death toll of US soldiers. For Ann, these numbers meant nothing. The US had been fighting the Vietnam War for her whole life. It seemed just something on the TV screen like a movie. Then Ann got a copy of Johnny Got His Gun. The reading opened her eyes to war and warfare and she could no longer look at the news about the war without realizing that these numbers were people. The dead were brother, sons, fathers. The book impacted her life.

Though these stories are not surprising given Hood’s literary guns, they are exquisitely written and moving, reminding the reader of how impactfull books can be, and how they shape our lives and teach us about love, sex, and language, and seeing beyond our own skin.