Though I have too little time for reading, I found this book so compelling I took baths instead of showers in the morning to have extra time to read, picked it up again when I got home, and as Annie describes herself doing, finished it and went straight back to the beginning to begin again. The second time was no less fresh, no less delightful, no less hilarious. I bought a copy and sent it to my brother. How did she do it? How did she remember in such painfully, exquisitely accurate detail what it was like -- what the emotions of every moment of childhood and adolescence were like, and what the obsessions were at each age? Possibly because I share her Pittsburgh childhood (though two decades later) and many of her passions (reading, drawing, science, nature, observation of detail) I felt I'd found a kindred spirit. Somehow, Annie managed make the most mundane events interesting, with a combination of wry humor and reverence. Obviously she learned something from the family joke-telling drills -- her delivery was beautiful. And her descriptions. There's something in common here with Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion -- both Dillard and Keillor seem to have begun adulthood as sharp critics of their social situations, yet when they moved away they found, despite some hypocrisies, something also loving and nurturing and solid about their places and people of origin.