“The Book of Me: A Guide to Scrapbooking about Yourself” by Angie Pedersen
Day 651 of going through my mother’s things and what should I find but a handmade book full of her old concert tickets? To my left sits an old baby wipe container consisting of ultrasound pictures of me faded from heat and to my right is a cigar box full of pictures of my mother’s adventures, from childhood to college. Now here I sit, staring at it all, wondering what I should do with such perfectly priceless treasures. The answer comes naturally: Scrapbooking.
“The Book of Me” by Angie Pedersen may not be the newest, most popular book about scrapbooking out there, but it’s certainly the book I needed to push me in the right direction. Pedersen sees the big picture. To her, a scrapbook is a book full of memories, both pictorial and written. She includes journaling. It’s a smart idea because not all of us will have our memories one day. Now is the time to cut and paste them into a physical existence, so should that ever happen, we can remember.
The Foreword in Pedersen’s book alone was exactly what I was thinking and feeling when I wished to start this project. Author Joanna Campbell Slan wrote a beautiful memory about hearing of a woman dying of brain cancer. Her time was short, and yet, for her two young sons, she created a lasting memory, a “legacy album.” This is what I wish to create and with Pedersen’s book, half the work is already done.
Certain roles that Pedersen has filled within her own life are what she calls each of her chapters, such as “Soul Mate,” “Worker Bee,” “A Work in Progress,” and most importantly to me “Nurturer.” Throughout each of these chapters, Pedersen includes a little introduction as to why she has created this certain page in her scrapbook about herself. She lists at least 25 prompts for journaling within that role. She even includes quotes for one to use along the way, whether it be within her reader’s scrapbook or to inspire and encourage.
Pedersen has a special was of treating the person reading “The Book of Me.” Not only is it a how-to book, but it could even be considered a self-help book. After all, scrapbooking is a reflective and meditative art that makes one look back on past experiences. A finished scrapbook means closure.
The best part of “The Book of Me” is how Pedersen provides ingenious ways in which to create a page even if you don’t have pictures to commemorate the memory. She tells her readers how to break away from rules they think might be a part of scrapbooking that are holding them back, such as photocopying pictures.
What I didn’t particularly care for about this book was the amount of crafting. Although the journaling aspect of this book was well planned and thought through, the actual craft of scrapbooking was not as touched upon. I would have liked a chapter on the craft, talking about matting, font, cut-outs, etc.
Anyone can take Pedersen’s ideas and make them their own. Scrapbooking is a very creative discipline. There is no right or wrong. If it is a reflection of you, it is exactly what a scrapbook should be.
Emery Lai is a Library Assistant at Alamance County Public Libraries. She may be reached at email@example.com or 336-229-3588.