"Maybe You Should Look A Little Closer" by Terri Miller

Posted on Fri 27 June 2008 in ClubReading

"Maybe You Should Look A Little Closer" is a memoir written by Terri Miller about 100 years of her family's history. The timeline begins in the early 1900's as she recounts stories she has heard about the days when her grandparents settled in Limestone, Pennsylvania. It continues through her grandchildren's childhood in early the 2000's. The historical aspect of the story is really interesting. We get a glimpse of the post World War II years in rural small-town America through this family's life. The majority of the memoir tells the story of Terri Miller's life with her parents and her siblings.

Terri Miller's father kept a very sketchy journal. It was just a few thoughts hastily scribbled on January 1 of the highlights of the previous year. Terri includes that journal and expands on it.

We are granted quite an intimate look at Terri herself. She boldly shares personal dreams and ambitions but also fears and failures. In fact, she is quite open about the positive and negative personality traits of herself and of her family members. That's the thing she wants us to see--that we all have strengths and weaknesses. It's what we do with situations that matters. And...It's how we treat family members that have made poor choices or are facing difficult times that matters. If you have family that you know cares about and loves you...even though you're not perfect...that's what matters. You know they will stand by you, because you stood by them during their difficult times.

The title of the book is for the beloved younger brother, Tracey...something he said as a child..."Maybe you should look a little closer." In other words, "Don't jump to conclusions." Or "Things are not always as they appear." Or "Look beneath the surface. There may be reasons you don't know anything about."

Terri's mother often wrote poems and words of encouragement to others. This is something she wrote in one of Terri's birthday cards.

"You can't know today all the roles you'll be playing, can't preview the years you're about the begin--and yet you have all the resources to go there, the power to choose and the courage to win. You may not know how the years up to this one have ripened your wisdom and sharpened your skill. You've yet to unfold all the promise within you but daughter, believe this you will...oh, you will."

Terri makes a point of saying that she played the role of daughter well. Her own words say it best:

"I've traveled the role of daughter to its end. I played that part with more confidence than any of the other roles in my life, and I miss it deeply. Hopefully the future carries with it new roles in which I will excel. I am now the older generation!"