Dear Reader – Cathy Rentzenbrink

Published by: Picador
Pages: 230
Date released: 17/09/2020
Date read: 28/09/2020

“Reading has saved my life, again and again, and has held my hand through every difficult time”.

For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.

“Every book holds a memory. When you hold a book in your hand, you access not only the contents of that book but the fragments of the previous selves that you were when you read it”.

This may have been the first time I had read Dear Reader but I knew it definitely wouldn’t be the last. I’ve been obsessed with books since I was a baby, even before I could read myself. Apparently, I would walk into my grandparent’s house, brush past my grandad, climb onto my nan’s lap, hand her a book and order her to read to me.

I was never without a book, much like Cathy. There would always be a book on my person, or in my bag, or in the car, just in case. Even now, I don’t even go to the dentist without having a book to read in the waiting room. None of my immediate family were big readers, so it was just me and nan. I would be the one going down to shops at midnight to collect newly published novels; spending every bit of pocket money on new books (which I still do now but with my salary); buying books in bulk from charity shops to stop them from becoming pulp.

I have often struggled to write about my own feelings, my own grief, and how reading has saved me, always been there during times of tremendous joy and tremendous sadness, and yet Cathy Rentzenbrink manages to put it down in black and white, and it’s like she has taken my soul and put it down on paper.

In just over 200 pages, she truly depicts the comfort and the joy of books.

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