Fred Setterberg's SAM MALOOF a Clinic on Biographical Narrative

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of CriticalBlast.com or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

 
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
StumbleUpon icon
Del.icio.us icon
Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Sam Maloof 36 Views Master Woodworker

There’s a lot of ugliness in the world, as we all know. Missed deadlines and misanthropy. Bill collectors and bad attitudes. Snarled traffic and starving children. It’s enough to make a person want to crawl back into bed, positive that nothing you can do can effect change.

However, just as the seasons turn and their opposites are made apparent to the patient, there is also an opposite to the unsightliness of society, if only we can be bothered to actively look for it.

In my opinion, there exist people whose sole purpose of being put on this Earth is to make it a little bit more beautiful for others. People like Mr. Rogers, or the Grandma who always has fresh baked cookies at the ready. Every time you see these kinds of people, you think to yourself, “Despite everything bad in my life, for the moments I am with this person, everything is going to be okay.” Sam Maloof was one of those kinds of people.

Sam Maloof was a furniture designer and woodworker based out of Alta Loma, California. Starting in the 1950’s, he created over 5,000 pieces  of furniture for homes, businesses, and public institutions. We could spend hours and hours discussing the effects that Mr. Maloof perpetuated on society, but today I’d like to talk about Fred Setterberg.

Fred Setterberg’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Southern Review and The Boston Phoenix. Author of the novel LUNCH BUCKET PARADISE, he has won an NEA Fellowship as well as a citation from Project  Censor for the year’s best under-reported story.

In his newest project, SAM MALOOF: 36 VIEWS OF A MASTER WOODWORKER, Setterberg pulls together short essays from the people who knew Sam Maloof the best. From his contemporaries, such as Mike Johnson or Joe Unis, to Maloof’s son Slimen; allowing the people who knew and loved Sam Maloof to tell us some of the most intimate memories they have of Sam. Managing to make sure the story is told, without thrusting oneself into the report, is a difficult task for most biographers, and in this volume Setterberg presents a clinic on biographical narrative.

In my opinion, there exist people whose sole purpose of being put on this earth is to make it a little bit more beautiful for others. People like Mr. Rogers, or your favorite Grandma, or Sam Maloof. Every time you see these kinds of people, you think to yourself, “Despite everything bad in my life, for the moments I am with this person, everything is going to be okay.” In this book, at least, Fred Setterberg is one of those people.

I don’t often feel the need to explain or “rationalize” the scores that I give to projects. Whether it’s a blockbuster movie, or a more intimate, personal project such as this book by Mr. Setterberg. However, in this case, I feel it’s justified. I would have given this book a very enthusiastic 5 out of 5, but since I was given a “review copy” of this book, there were several places that were marked with a placeholder labeled “photo needed”. It is for this and ONLY this reason that I took off half a point. It is also important to note that despite the fact that I have this book in my possession, these placeholders are inspiring me to buy a copy of the book when it is released. Mr. Setterberg did an absolutely inspirational job, despite the fact that my copy was missing several pieces. I am not willing to leave myself wondering what I may have missed from his vision, so I will be eagerly anticipating April 1st when I can buy the complete version.

SAM MALOOF: 36 VIEWS OF A MASTER WOODWORKER goes on sale April 1st, 2016. Comment below for your chance to win a review copy.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0