Monday, 11 August 2014

'How to Catch a Frog,' Heather Ross : Review

I mentioned I started reading 'How to Catch a Frog' by Heather Ross a while back and in all honesty, I enjoyed it so much I stopped reading it so that I could save it up to take on a weekend away and to read on the way up to Fat Quarterly Retreat. Each time I opened this book, I was totally immersed in her stories and memories.


 She doesn't pull any punches. The memories are truthful so not always happy, sometimes challenging and an honest portrayal of an alternative family life, warts and all. Her tone is sage and funny. I am around the same age and I found a lot to identify with despite a childhood in Yorkshire and Devon rather thanVermont.  You can find a brief description of her background on her website to get an idea of where the stories are coming from.


I know Heather Ross through her fabric designs and reading this book gave me a hindsight understanding of her themes and ideas. The free flowing natural sketchy drawings  all have their origin from her formative experiences.  The horses, the frogs, the mermaids  come from a life of outdoors, freedom and a love of nature.


Her determined and tenacious personality comes through amidst the unstructured childhood and the adhoc experiences at college and work.  She is resilient through all her adventures practical and pragmatic about events, funny and forthright to those around her.  The 'makes' are diversions along the way, cul de sacs to turn off into whilst reading her story.  The drawings are occasional and there were times when I wished for a photograph, especially in the third chapter when a black and white picture of their school house is referenced- it seemed to communicate so much about the way in which they were living and her mother's attitude to parenting.  Ultimately my imagination filled in the gaps and I also wondered if seeing an actual photo would have been to invasive into another family's life.


I identified with a lot throughout  despite the obvious differences.  I was sad for the book to end: its an emotional journey, I cried reading it on the train and I finished it wanting to read the whole thing again. Recommended. 

sib blog

9 comments:

  1. How interesting.I like reading biographies and love her fabrics so I may have to find this one : )

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  2. sounds fascinating - thanks for the review. I have put it on my birthday present wish list!

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  3. Sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing the review.

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  4. I read it a few weeks ago, I cried too, didn't want it to end and enjoyed it immensely. It makes her fabric seem even more special to me now too because I can see the stories behind it! Great review!

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  5. It sounds (and looks!) like a wonderful book!

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  6. I still haven't got to mine, but thanks for the review, glad to hear it stayed good :o)

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  7. Oh dear! I had seen that book online before but never payed attention to it, somehow I thought it was a book for childrens...maybe because of the illustration and the title...Boy I was wrong! Anyhow, after reading your post, I couldn't wait and bought the electronic version...I can't put this one down. :)
    Thank you for sharing this one.:)

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  8. Hmmm i think i have to read it. It looks graphically beautiful too - but what else would you expect?

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  9. I didn't know about this book so thanks for sharing and for your wonderful review. I am attending a lecture by her at QuiltCon next year and feel I must read this book before I go! Looks like a lovely object in itself too.

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