The Life Story of Amy Krouse Rosenthal Continues
May 25th, 2017
Like millions of readers, I was in awe of author Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s extraordinarily powerful New York Times Valentine’s Day column this year, “You May Want to Marry My Husband,” and taken aback with its revelation that she had ovarian cancer and only days to live. Even though I had only read one of her many books, and had only met her once, I was deeply saddened to learn that she died at 51 on March 3.
Yet what I read, and that brief conversation, followed up by one email exchange, was enough to know that her death was a loss for humanity, beyond her family. I wrote briefly about our meeting in 2009, soon after the American Library Association annual conference in Chicago. I was doing the first book signing for Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life, which had just been released. She was signing one of her children’s books. I had read her memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, and wanted to let her know how much I enjoyed it, and that I knew from the way it was written, and what she wrote about, that she was a really good person. I told her about my book, and that I was also doing a signing. Afterward, I emailed her, offering to mail her a signed copy. This was her response:
How nice to hear from you. Glad to hear all is moving ahead in full force.
I would love a signed copy, and I accept it only with the verbal handshake that I will in turn buy a copy to give to a like-minded friend or colleague.
Thanks so much,
I sent a book, and although I did not hear from her again, my hunch is that she followed through on her offer.
During our conversation, I mentioned that I had recently completed a long career at USA TODAY. She asked me if I knew the paper’s book critic Bob Minzesheimer, who had written about Encyclopedia. She said to tell him hi, which I did via email. This was his response:
Pls excuse very belatedly response. This got lost in post-vacation backlog, but it’s good to hear that there’s life after usa today. And congratulations on your book. I met Amy long before she became a prolific kids author. she’s a hoot.
And if you’re in NY let me know.
Somehow following up with Bob about my visits to New York fell through the cracks, and it never happened. Now, sadly in a further twist of fate, that’s no longer possible as Bob died at 66 of brain cancer last October 15.
As for Amy, there has been a flurry activity around her creative output, and extending the life messages that were an integral part of her being. Her family recently started the AKR Yellow Umbrella Foundation. People were encouraged to do #MoreforAKR on April 29; which would have been her 52nd birthday. Her books for both children and adults continue to have an impact, including another memoir released last year, the wonderfully titled Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. There have been moving tributes online, such as “How to Live Life with Fantastic Aliveness: Remembering Amy Krouse Rosenthal,” from Maria Popova on Brain Pickings. And earlier this month, Variety and other outlets reported that Universal bought the movie rights to “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” Her spirit will indeed live on.