All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Bedtime Story by Chloe Hooper

The title Bedtime Story and the simple but exquisite cover enticed me to read this book before I read the blurb but once I did, I became more excited to join this tour for Chloe Hooper’s book. As a writer and avid reader the idea of using children’s literature and author experience to explain what was to come sounded genius.

Scroll down to see if it met my high expectations.

Book Review: Bedtime Story by Chloe Hooper

Book cover for Bedtime Story. Beautiful but simple cover. Cream with gold lettering. A sprinkle of gold and silver stars run across it.
Bedtime Story by Chloe Hooper

Title: Bedtime Story

Author: Chloe Hooper

Publisher: Scribner

Genre: Memoir, non-fiction

Release date: 27th October 2022


From the best-selling author of The Tall Man and The Arsonist, a personal tale about death, life and the enchantment of stories.

Let me tell you a story…

When Chloe Hooper’s partner is diagnosed with a rare and aggressive illness, she has to find a way to tell their two young sons. By instinct, she turns to the bookshelf.

Can the news be broken as a bedtime tale? Is there a perfect book to prepare children for loss? Hooper embarks on a quest to find what practical lessons children’s literature—with its innocent orphans and evil adults, magic, monsters and anthropomorphic animals—can teach about grief and resilience in real life.

As she discovers, ‘the right words are an incantation, a spell of hope for the future.’ From the Brothers Grimm to Frances Hodgson Burnett and Tolkien and Dahl—all of whom suffered childhood bereavements—she follows the breadcrumbs of the world’s favourite authors, searching for the deep wisdom in their books and lives.

Both memoir and manual, Bedtime Story is stunningly illustrated by the New York Times award-winning Anna Walker. In an age of worldwide uncertainty, here is a profound and moving exploration of
the dark and light of storytelling.

My Thoughts

Chloe Hooper’s quest for a book to help explain to her young sons about her husband’s cancer and death has resulted in a beautiful, and deep insight into grief using the knowledge found in books, and authors’ lives. From picture books to Grimm’s fairy tales and Tolkien she studied them all to find the answer she needed and related her family’s experience to quests of old in mythology. It’s a memoir of her family’s lives at the time but also the history of children’s literature and, in some respects, humanity and the cultural attitude to death.

While reading, I discovered so much about author’s I admire and those I knew nothing about but feel the need to know more. As a writer I found it fascinating how authors’ lived experiences affected their work and never knew the story behind Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar. My copy is dotted with post-it notes to remind me of quotes or things I am pondering and want to revisit. The stunning illustrations help tell the story and set the atmosphere of the journey.

I feel privileged to have a copy of this stunning, clever and emotional yet informative book and I know I’ll revisit on many occasions and explore the notes on the topics, books discussed in the future. Thank you Random Things Tours for the invite of this tour.

Author Biography

Photo of Chloe Hooper. White woman standing in front of trees. Wearing pink checked top. Long should length blone hair
Chloe Hooper

Chloe Hooper’s most recent book is the bestselling The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire. The Tall Man won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premiers’ Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. She is also the author of two acclaimed novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement. She lives in Melbourne
with her partner and her two sons

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