I did not care for Barbara Caruso's narration. The story is one of deep loss in the life a very privileged woman. That alone was reason enough to temper the narration to minimize the elitism of Didions surroundings. but Caruso amps up her narration to the point of haughtiness. There is an overtone of the aristocrat in her voice that disserves the very real grief Didion is experiencing. Yes, Didion is a brainiac and a crafter of the precise word to describe the nuances of emotion and insights. yet these attributes are also her weaknesses. she is predominantly about intellect, about her capacity to know and recall all the medical conditions both her husband and daughter are experiencing and the interrelationships of those conditions producing a complex of illness she wants to control. the loss of her intellectual capacity to direct, control and make sense of this Medical complex and the loss of her husband is one of the largest parts of her grief. even the title of the book is about thinking. I felt deep compassion for Didions real grief as a black hole appears suddenly to swallow her in the midst of a seemingly endless flow of the good life. she was traumatized and we feel it. But unless you relate to spontaneous trips to Paris or Honolulu or jet-setting between your home in Malibu and your Brownstone in Manhattan or partying with international dignitaries and the intelligencia,, you may be challenged, as I was, to relate to her particular version of grief.
I feel like I've traveled this year with Joan as she transitions to widowhood. As she tells the date and what she was doing, I think of what I was doing on that day. I was immersed in the telling, and feel a loss as I say goodbye to Joan as she continues on to her real life and I return to mine. I see this as the mark of a great book. The narration suits it perfectly. I recommend it to anyone who wants to see what grief is like, who wants to see how a story ends, who wants to explore the mind of a writer, or just wants to sink into someone else's life for awhile.
I am what you might call a literary philanderer...
I would give this a three star rating if I weren't forced to make concessions for the author. Maybe this is best suited for those in mourning. Everyone else may experience a well written, rambling, outpouring of awkward mixtures between pretense and scholarly disection of grief.
I have known about Joan Didion for a long time, but never read her. After this book I will checkout other books by her. But this narrator is gold! I could listen to her all day.
I love literary fiction and I occasionally delve into non-fiction. I love books that are suspenseful and am really into well-told stories.
This is a hard book, but so beautifully done that I feel I grow as a human being every time I read it or listen to it. I love the audio version. Joan Didion reflects so well on the little things that make up this big thing called life. Thank you for this brave memoir.
I'm honestly torn between if I liked the book or not. I loved the concept and content of what she writes, however, there's a lot of unnecessary filler in the book. When she is on topic, like chapter 18, she is great, but when she isn't, she is all over the place. Talking about random anecdotes of the past and regurgitating the same sentiments. The melancholy feels incessant to the point of just wanting the book to end sooner than what it did.
This is one of those titles that sucks you in with positive reviews and a decent story, but then you wish you didn't use a credit to purchase :) The writing and narration of this book is excellent. I just didn't like it. I couldn't relate to all of the name-dropping in the book, I am not of the literary/screenplay writing world, so I did not know anyone mentioned. I had to even google the author and her husband to see why they were famous. They live a rich lifestyle, with a home on each coast, travel around the world, dinner parties every week and I just couldn not seem to connect to the story. I am a middle class professional, highly educated who has only one home and travels once or twice a year. I still have an hour to go, I will finish because I don't like to leave a story untold. I could relate to the parts about grief and her references to research about grief, yet most of it is a memoir of her life which got a bit boring. I used the forward 30 second button throughout this one. The writing and narration are excellent, it just wasn't for me.
Written with all the emotions involved in trying to live with the death of a spouse. And on top of that, dealing with a critically ill daughter. Amazing that the author could write about such traumatic events in her life.