Join our email list.

(type your email address)

Share Your Story

Register to share your story
Already registered: login

Get to Know Your Parents

Recent Stories

Featured Stories

See the Film

51 Birch Street


Read the Reviews

"With 51 Birch Street, Doug Block has fashioned an engaging and at times even suspenseful mystery out of his family's story and, along the way, a social history of the American family unfolds, from the uptight 50s through the 70s (a swath of story worthy of Updike, Cheever or Roth) to the present."


Nini Lee (age 44)

I just finished watching the movie.  So profound and thought provoking.  The film was so personal to Doug and his family, but so appropriate for us all to experience through him.
I am a journal keeper myself.  One of the first questions I wanted to ask Doug is if he was glad he read the journals or does he wish he would have left them alone?  I think the answer would be that he is satisfied that he read them and has found the balance of love and forgiveness and empathy for his Mother.  If you read this Doug, will you please answer this for me.  Im sure you can agree, if you have ever journaled yourself, that since this is mostly a tool to vent when one is unhappy and stressed and going through a crises,isn’t the perception of your mothers chronic unhappiness skewed? and overly dramatized? 
I am in the process of debating weather to burn my journals (Ive kept them since I was 13) or not.  I am afraid to let my daughter read them and think my life was so miserable.  It was/is not, it’s just the unhappy times are the times I mostly write.  I am too busy to write when I am in my joy.  Any thoughts? Nini


Yes, Nini, I’ve kept journals, and I tried to keep that perspective when dealing with my mother’s journals in the film.  That’s one of the reasons I deliberately chose phrases like “I am also an optimist” and “Joy joy joy!”—so that my mother could be seen in her totality, and not just as unhappy and frustrated.

Can’t advise you about whether to hold onto your journals or not but I would urge you to leave a note behind for loved ones as to whether or not you want them read.  My mother never did, so none of my family members knew what to do with them.

By: Doug Block, on May 09, 2007

In reference to Nini Lee,I think it is a beautiful legacy to leave your family.It also leaves a personal,deep place in the hearts of your loved ones that they would never get otherwise.I think that Dougs mother probably had many happy and truly cherished times with her family that she just didnt write about,but held only in her heart.So maybe if you wrote about the good times and the bad times they would would get a better picture of who you are.All I want to know before I die is that I am loved,I have loved,and I have lived,and I will going on living in the hearts of people that loved me.

By: Katrina, on Sep 12, 2008

Leave a Comment



Your Comment:

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Comments are moderated and will not be viewed on the site until approved.