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Little and Often: A Memoir

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“Little and Often is a beautiful memoir of grief, love, the shattered bond between a father and son, and the resurrection of a broken heart. Trent Preszler tells his story with the same level of art and craftsmanship that he brings to his boat making, and he reminds us of creativity’s power to transform and heal our lives. This is a powerful and deeply moving book. I won’t “Little and Often is a beautiful memoir of grief, love, the shattered bond between a father and son, and the resurrection of a broken heart. Trent Preszler tells his story with the same level of art and craftsmanship that he brings to his boat making, and he reminds us of creativity’s power to transform and heal our lives. This is a powerful and deeply moving book. I won’t soon forget it.”   —Elizabeth Gilbert Trent Preszler thought he was living the life he always wanted, with a job at a winery and a seaside Long Island home, when he was called back to the life he left behind. After years of estrangement, his cancer-stricken father had invited him to South Dakota for Thanksgiving. It would be the last time he saw his father alive. Preszler’s only inheritance was a beat-up wooden toolbox that had belonged to his father, who was a cattle rancher, rodeo champion, and Vietnam War Bronze Star Medal recipient. This family heirloom befuddled Preszler. He did not work with his hands—but maybe that was the point. In his grief, he wondered if there was still a way to understand his father, and with that came an epiphany: he would make something with his inheritance. Having no experience or training in woodcraft, driven only by blind will, he decided to build a wooden canoe, and he would aim to paddle it on the first anniversary of his father’s death. While Preszler taught himself how to use his father’s tools, he confronted unexpected revelations about his father’s secret history and his own struggle for self-respect. The grueling challenges of boatbuilding tested his limits, but the canoe became his sole consolation. Gradually, Preszler learned what working with his hands offered: a different per­spective on life, and the means to change it. Little and Often is an unflinching account of bereavement and a stirring reflection on the complexities of inheritance. Between his past and his present, and between America’s heartland and its coasts, Preszler shows how one can achieve reconciliation through the healing power of creativity.


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“Little and Often is a beautiful memoir of grief, love, the shattered bond between a father and son, and the resurrection of a broken heart. Trent Preszler tells his story with the same level of art and craftsmanship that he brings to his boat making, and he reminds us of creativity’s power to transform and heal our lives. This is a powerful and deeply moving book. I won’t “Little and Often is a beautiful memoir of grief, love, the shattered bond between a father and son, and the resurrection of a broken heart. Trent Preszler tells his story with the same level of art and craftsmanship that he brings to his boat making, and he reminds us of creativity’s power to transform and heal our lives. This is a powerful and deeply moving book. I won’t soon forget it.”   —Elizabeth Gilbert Trent Preszler thought he was living the life he always wanted, with a job at a winery and a seaside Long Island home, when he was called back to the life he left behind. After years of estrangement, his cancer-stricken father had invited him to South Dakota for Thanksgiving. It would be the last time he saw his father alive. Preszler’s only inheritance was a beat-up wooden toolbox that had belonged to his father, who was a cattle rancher, rodeo champion, and Vietnam War Bronze Star Medal recipient. This family heirloom befuddled Preszler. He did not work with his hands—but maybe that was the point. In his grief, he wondered if there was still a way to understand his father, and with that came an epiphany: he would make something with his inheritance. Having no experience or training in woodcraft, driven only by blind will, he decided to build a wooden canoe, and he would aim to paddle it on the first anniversary of his father’s death. While Preszler taught himself how to use his father’s tools, he confronted unexpected revelations about his father’s secret history and his own struggle for self-respect. The grueling challenges of boatbuilding tested his limits, but the canoe became his sole consolation. Gradually, Preszler learned what working with his hands offered: a different per­spective on life, and the means to change it. Little and Often is an unflinching account of bereavement and a stirring reflection on the complexities of inheritance. Between his past and his present, and between America’s heartland and its coasts, Preszler shows how one can achieve reconciliation through the healing power of creativity.

42 review for Little and Often: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Little and often was the way I read Trent Preszler’s memoir of the same name, an account of how, after his father’s death, Preszler built a canoe with his inheritance—his father’s tools. Reading a few pages each night for a month, I journeyed with Preszler into grief mitigated by the power of memory, loss transformed by the mastery of craft, and a relationship healed after death. The beautifully worded narrative moves seamlessly through time, weaving Preszler’s childhood on a ranch in the Dakota Little and often was the way I read Trent Preszler’s memoir of the same name, an account of how, after his father’s death, Preszler built a canoe with his inheritance—his father’s tools. Reading a few pages each night for a month, I journeyed with Preszler into grief mitigated by the power of memory, loss transformed by the mastery of craft, and a relationship healed after death. The beautifully worded narrative moves seamlessly through time, weaving Preszler’s childhood on a ranch in the Dakotas with his adult life as a New York winemaker living on Long Island. As he recounts his experiences during the course of building the canoe, Preszler’s introspection reveals unexpected connections between these two radically different experiences, shifting his perception of events and self, and enriching his understanding of family relationships, especially his relationship with his father. A rich and satisfying read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    TK

    I highly recommend this magnificent memoir. Trent Preszler reconciles his estranged relationship with his father by building a wooden canoe with his father's tools, a perplexing inheritance. Moving back and forth in time, Trent relates memories of his early life to moments spent working on the canoe. In the hands of a lesser writer, and a less thoughtful human, this story could have been one giant cliche, but Trent transcends all of that with his unflagging honesty and strength of character. Whi I highly recommend this magnificent memoir. Trent Preszler reconciles his estranged relationship with his father by building a wooden canoe with his father's tools, a perplexing inheritance. Moving back and forth in time, Trent relates memories of his early life to moments spent working on the canoe. In the hands of a lesser writer, and a less thoughtful human, this story could have been one giant cliche, but Trent transcends all of that with his unflagging honesty and strength of character. While Trent's precise experience as a gay man separated by time and place from his stoic, rancher dad is nothing like mine, I found myself relating to his story nevertheless. And isn't that what turns memoir into something more than an autobiography -- the moments in our specific lives that reveal our common struggles and triumphs? Now I must go google images of Trent's canoe. Read this book!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sunni Parker

    Excellent story- thank you for the opportunity to read this, Trent Preszler!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A truly beautiful memoir about love and family and grief and boatbuilding; about working through the grief of the loss of a parent.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Campbell

  6. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

  7. 4 out of 5

    Suz

  8. 4 out of 5

    Trent Preszler

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Seim

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Lynn

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debee Sue

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jen Johnson

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Van De Geer

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  16. 5 out of 5

    Zacharey

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Hagge

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristian Rose

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Betty Matteo

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bryn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tonya Gardner

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eric Jackson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leah Schmidt

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barb Longfield

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sean McCutchen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  31. 4 out of 5

    Tippy

  32. 4 out of 5

    Babadri

  33. 4 out of 5

    Cameron Solley

  34. 4 out of 5

    Amie's Book Reviews

  35. 4 out of 5

    Jorie

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

  37. 4 out of 5

    William Edwards

  38. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Seim

  39. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  40. 5 out of 5

    MaryJane Kasper

  41. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  42. 4 out of 5

    Devon McDevitt

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