The Journal Keeper

A Memoir

By Phyllis Theroux
(Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780802118974, 281pp.)

Publication Date: February 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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“^The Journal Keeper^ is a radiant display of Phyllis Theroux's considerable talents with pen and paper but even more remarkable is her window on a mystical world of universal wisdom that she unveils in her daily task of record keeping.”
-- Barbara Meade, Politics & Prose Books &, Washington, DC

Essayist Theroux has long captivated readers with her pitch-perfect rendering of the inner lives of American women. "The Journal Keeper" is a memoir of six years in her life, covering universal topics such as love, loneliness, growing old, spiritual growth, and death.

Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012

Say farewell to prissy princesses. Author Heather Havrilesky recommends three page turners with plucky female protagonists. These satisfying sisters will lift your spirits and open your eyes. More at

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Praise For The Journal Keeper

“[Theroux] excels at closely observed and elegantly expressed portraits of domestic life that fondly recall the tradition of E.B. White. Theroux is a lovely writer…The best thing about The Journal Keeper is the way it keeps us hopeful—and expectant—about what will happen next.”—Danny Heitman, Christian Science Monitor

“Theroux seems to possess a certain calmness and wisdom…[The Journal Keeper] is full of small, lyrical insights.”—Juliet Wittman, The Washington Post

“In addition to offering her smart observations on issues that concern us, too, [Theroux] opens a window on an intelligent kind of journal keeping, the kind that relies on considered thoughts instead of rants…Theroux possess all the field marks of a good writer: Her images and metaphors are so good they glow; her descriptions give us a sense of the place she inhabits…[Her] advice—‘Lean toward the light’ and make it a place ‘to save small pieces of beauty’—is unnecessary. With The Journal Keeper, she has already shown us how.”—Jann Malone, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Captivating…a multi-dimensional pleasure…Theroux offers us a multilayered view of herself that is at once whimsical and profound…whatever her subject—growing old, spiritual growth, life in a small town, her students and teaching life, even a new romantic passion—Theroux is able to reach deep inside and step outside herself with inspiring aplomb.”—Linda Stankard, Bookpage

“When a writer of Theroux’s stature chooses to share such introspective feelings with the world, readers are afforded an unparalleled opportunity to observe how such crystalline powers of observation are developed and nurtured…Editing more than six years of her personal reflections, Theroux goes public in this elegiac memoir of love and loss, an elegant tribute to the resiliency of human nature.”—Booklist

“I loved this singularly honest and graceful book. The Journal Keeper reminds us that there is no such thing as an ordinary moment, and certainly no such thing as an ordinary life.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love

“In lovely, straightforward prose, Theroux speaks honestly about the quotidian and miraculous aspects of loss and new chances. It’s all here—births, deaths and marriages—and the reader is invited into the intimacies of a world that is both familiar and full of surprises.”—Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge

“What a wonderful, wonderful book! I felt like I was on a little journey. It really made me think beyond the page. The Journal Keeper reads like a case study of a person’s life. You will read it more than once.”—Amy Sedaris, author of the New York Times best-selling I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

“If I were in one of Phyllis Theroux’s writing classes, she surely would disapprove of my using seven enthusiastic adjectives all in a row. But no fewer could do justice to The Journal Keeper, her open-hearted, honest, honorable, wise, generous, brave and utterly captivating book which sheds a clarifying light on the pain and possibilities present in the third-third of our lives. Read it. You’ll love it, and her, and your own newly promising future.”—Judith Viorst, best-selling author of Necessary Losses and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

The Journal Keeper mesmerized me! There’s the double narrative of the writing life and the life going on around Theroux that is utterly absorbing. I read it straight through in twenty-four hours and could not put it down.”—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of You & Yours

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