The Journal Keeper

A Memoir

By Phyllis Theroux
(Grove Press, Paperback, 9780802145284, 304pp.)

Publication Date: March 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the March 2010 Indie Next List
“^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


The Journal Keeper is the openhearted and unflinchingly honest memoir of six years in writer Phyllis Theroux's life. As she ages into her sixties, Theroux uses regular journal entries to reflect on the void left by the passing of her remarkable mother and the thrill of allowing a new source of joy into her life. A natural storyteller, Theroux slips her arm companionably into yours, like an old friend going for a stroll. But Theroux's stride is long and her eye sharp, and she swings easily between subjects that occupy us all: love, loneliness, growing old, financial worries, spiritual growth, and caring for an aging parent.

A compelling tale in journal form, The Journal Keeper is a rich feast from the writing life -- with an unexpected twist. After the death of her mother leaves Theroux feeling adrift, she finds the love that she believed was closed to a woman of her age.

Not until Theroux sat down to edit her journals for publication did she realize, in her words, "that a hand much larger and more knowing than my own was guiding my life and pen across the page." She makes a good case for this being true for us all.

About the Author

Phyllis Theroux’s books include a memoir, several essay collections, a novella, Giovanni’s Light, and an anthology, The Book of Eulogies. She lives in Ashland, Virginia.

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

“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

“[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

“Captivating…a multi-dimensional pleasure…Theroux offers us a multilayered view of herself that is at once whimsical and profound… [she] is able to reach deep inside and step outside herself with inspiring aplomb.”—Linda Stankard, Bookpage

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

“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…Theroux goes public in this elegiac memoir of love and loss, an elegant tribute to the resiliency of human nature.”—Booklist

“Theroux possess all the field marks of a good writer: Her images and metaphors are so good they glow…[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

“Theroux writes frankly of her doubts, fears, vanities…it is those shortcomings and subsequent reflections that make this book a cut above….if a life like Theroux’s, so relatively ordinary on the surface, can be felt and expressed in such an extraordinary way, might it be that our ordinary lives can, too?”—Pamela Miller, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Lyrical and humorous…[Theroux’s] narrative is spiked with the trials and joys of writing, intermixed with everyday sweet nothings, none of which are ordinary, that she fashions in to universal truths…around every bend are phrases to savor.”—Mims Cushing, Florida Times-Union

“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, best-selling author of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

“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

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