A wonderful narrator takes us through the terrible year of tragedies for Joan Didion, who beautifully highlights what it means to live and experience human emotions. This was a book I could not stop, and indeed listened to several chapters over again to only to enjoy the haunting pace and voice of Ms Didion. Exceptional work.
Was prepared to really get into this but it just started getting really flat toward the middle. Written in a way that makes you feel the author feels no one has ever had a loved one die. In the end brings very little to the table. Skip it and go have lunch with your grandma or mom.
This book tackles the experience of loss in a thoughtful way. The author focuses on her personal experience, but at times draws from the broader literature to seek universality in her experience. The book has some wonderful moments, and some thought-provoking insights. However, the book also has some very tedious sections. As I approached the last two hours of the book, I decided I did not want to finish it. I found myself listening to various podcasts rather than slog through the rest of the book.
One thing that struck me was how rarified a life the author had. Of course, she was a successful author, which guarantees she is not in the mainstream of American life. But there were a few references that exemplified the lack of commonality between her life and mine. For example, she found an old Emily Post book on etiquette, and discussed the value of the guidance given to those whose friends had been bereaved: bring bland foods, don't let the bereaved be alone, how to handle calling hours, etc. This advice was appropriate for friends of an older widow who did not have a job, financial problems, or significant family responsibilities. The situation for most of those bereaved at the time Emily Post wrote her advice was different. Most families did not have bereavement leave, widowhood often brought financial ruin, and the large number of farming families still had to care for their land. Didion's reference to this bit of upper-class etiquette is fitting, because Didion did not have to work, and quite frankly could allow herself a year to fret about the experience of widowhood.
So... I enjoyed parts of the book, but not enough to finish it. I would have liked the book to be about 3 hours shorter, which could have been achieved with tighter editing in the written material. I don't dis-recommend it, but there are many books I've enjoyed a lot more this year.
Probably not. I am sad for the author and her loss but didn't feel her retelling of her grieving process was anything new or magical.
adequate, mature, clear
Sadness to be sure. Disappointed because the title led me to believe there would be some magic involved in her year of grieving but I didn't get any magic from it, just someone sharing their grief.
Joan Didion and her husband, the writer Gregory Dunne, returned from the hospital where their adopted daughter, Quintana Roo was in a coma. Dunne suffered a fatal heart attack. Didion reviews what happened in excruciating detail and wonders if there is something that she could have done differently, noticed earlier, to save her husband's life. Didion's prose is, as usual, crystalline, but the self-absorption in her own pain and that of her family wore me out.
She's written another one about her daughter's death, but I think I can skip it.
This is an amazing book. You would think it would be depressing but its actually comforting, especially if you're dealing with something difficult yourself. The author lets you deep inside the workings of her mind creating a real intimacy that is rarely found in books, movies, even relationships. She is a great writer and this is a real treat. Its just a whole different way of perceiving the world around you, and how the mind works. I'd say this book is candy for people who really enjoy thinking! Intelligent, and heartfelt.
I listened to this in the year in which my best friend was kidnapped and murdered, my mother got sick and passed away, and my husband and I celebrated our 31st anniversary. And the year before, my husband had been seriously injured in a car accident. Thus, the book was, for me, cause for much reflection and more than a bit of catharsis. Very well written, as you would expect from Didion, and very movingly, if understatedly, narrated - in fact, moving in its understatedness, almost soothing. Life happens, death happens, the wheel goes round and round.
Joan Didion went through a lot of turmoil in the space of a year and I appreciated much of what she shared. However, I'm not quite sure how the title fits the story. I thought it would be a story of how she changed and grew, but much of it seemed like bragging. She talked about all her "big name" friends and how her wealth and connections got her through. I can't help but wonder how someone who doesn't have her advantages, but is going through their own tragedies, would feel while listening to this book.
A heartbreaking, breathtaking and inspiring journey into the very depths of this beautiful person's heart and soul. A profoundly brave and powerful story of loss and living. Thank you Ms Didion