Jack M, Reviewer
Trapped in the Present Tense by Colette Brooks snuck up on me and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, and by extension about our current society, since. Many books that employ the idea that the personal (or even the individual) is public tends to move noticeably back and forth. From an individual's story to society's story, or from a personal story to a societal story. In fact, prior to this book, I wasn't sure how one could truly weave both into a coherent whole. There have certainly been many good and effective books that still, for the most part, have those pivot points where we go from individual to society. Here, they are as entwined as I believe they can be. Partly because many of the individuals are part of the societal story we all know, but also, I think, because Brooks doesn't so much instruct us to shift gears and then tell us what we should take away. She glides from one to the other with as many questions as statements, with as much genuine curiosity as prefigured prescriptions. I don't often make a point of suggesting that readers read a lot of the parts of a book that are generally overlooked, such as some prefaces and especially acknowledgements, but read every bit of this one. It isn't essential but I think it helps round out the overall picture and makes the impact just a bit more powerful. Again, not essential but highly suggested. I am curious how people of different ages will read this. I happen to remember most of the events quite vividly from JFK's assassination to the present (no, I don't remember WWII, but I do remember my father's stories, the ones he could tell, very well). For readers who consider the 60s and 70s history (which it is, of course) rather than "when I was young" I wonder what their perspective is. How does it speak to them? I'd love to hear comments! I highly recommend this for readers who ponder how we got to where we are. This isn't the entire story, but it highlights some key areas and shows us how we might connect other parts of the past to our present. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.