Monday, February 21, 2011

A Secret Gift, by Ted Gup

This book has garnered all kinds of plaudits, and it's a well-deserved recognition for a topic that is pretty unique. However, it would have been even more delightful to read if the author and his editor had really worked together on tightening up the story: make sure people's names are spelled correctly (e.g., Brownlee or Browning? Same family, two entirely different names). There was just enough of this sort of thing to distract me from the whole point of the story: that Gup's grandfather anonymously gave 150 Canton, Ohio, families money at Christmastime 1933, a story no one but his grandfather and grandmother told anyone until much later. Gup tracks down a fair number of the recipients' families and interviews those willing to talk to him. Another couple of months of editing and this would be prize-winning.

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