Book: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Genre: Non Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
We voted this in for book club reading since everyone had heard such awesome things about it. We heard it was sad, but we heard it was good too.
Well. The sad part was true. As for the good part... I'm not so sure.
In this book, the author rambles on about the death of her husband the year before... and the sickness of her adult daughter, both of which hit at the same time. She goes through her thought process every step of the way, how she relived that night over and over, how everything she saw sent her down a memory vortex, how she believed it wasn't real and that he would come back, how if only she had done such and such a thing, it wouldn't have happened, how everyday she remembered what they were doing the year before on that day when he was still alive. And so on.
I think for people who have gone through similar events, knowing how this particular person got through it might ease some of their pain. Maybe it would help for them to know that they aren't the only one with such thoughts.
She also did a lot of research on the grieving process and threw in a bunch of psychology. For some, this might help them. For others, I'm sure it just sounds like a bunch of craziness.
There was also lots of medical talk, and reminiscing about connections with people who's names had no meaning or basis for me. Those parts I tended to truly skip over.
Bottom Line: I imagine some would find the book helpful and interesting, but I was baffled through the whole thing that it got such astounding praise and won awards and things. I just didn't get how a rambly book like this rises to such heights. Very interesting.
The only thing I found even a little insightful was at the beginning, when she talks about grief being a mental illness rather than some temporary condition. From Confessions of a Bibliophile
I guess my point is to not go into this book thinking that it’s going to be easy. It’s absolutely worth it — this was a fantastic book — but it can be emotionally difficult to read. From Sophisticated Dorkiness
Readers won’t find any self help for grieving here but might recognize the various stages of grief and take comfort that they’re not alone in them. From Dear Author
It’s beautifully written, deeply personal, and incredibly moving. From S. Krishna's Books