The Box Closet
Janet Money is a writer and policy analyst for the Canadian Cystic
Fibrosis Foundation in Toronto.
Forgive Mary Meigs the self-indulgence of putting together a book from material furnished by her parents through letters and diaries.
Forgive her because there is interesting material here — her mother’s enjoyment of the flirtation and courting games (played according to strict 1901 rules) is particularly charming, and Meigs’s own imaginary letters to her (now dead) parents tell the story of coming to an understanding of them that was impossible while they were alive.
It’s harder to forgive an organization of material so haphazard that chronology and geography become confused. So do first names, which are repeated through generations. Meigs resorts to initials and provides a family tree, but it’s still sometimes hard to keep everybody straight.
Meigs is the author of two previous memoirs: Lily Briscoe: A Self-Portrait and The Medusa Head.