This beautifully written and artfully narrated first person memoir delivered what the title promised: a reflection of truly magical thinking.
I began listening to it as my father lay ill after a long and active life. During the course of my listening, I worked on domestic tasks and painting in my studio. These tasks help me concentrate, and I knew that I needed to concentrate, to learn from Joan...for days ahead.
I finished The Year of Magical Thinking about a week after my dad's funeral and while waiting for my mother to return from a short stay with my sister. By hearing Joan's progress, I feel that I can help my mother begin hers.
An amazing narrative by Joan Didion and the process of grief on her husbands dead. It literally make me change the way I live my life.
The only flaw is the horrible music at the end of each chapter. It totally screws up the narration and the felling of the text.
As a event widow this book made a lot of sense
No one expects the fear and bewilderment that follows a death of your husband but knowing that what you are feeling is to be expected helps
highly recommend. Barbara Caruso does and excellent job narrating. doesn't miss a beat. Joan Didion did an amazing job in writing the story despite the fact she didn't have her husband to assist her with the editing process. just... an amazing book. one of my favorites.
I have listened several times and love this book more each time I listen.
The writing is so lovely, almost lyrical.
Barbara Caruso's performance is wonderful, I can listen to her while driving, walking, or while trying to fall asleep. She has a lovely voice which is ideally matched for this book.
Well researched thrillers Chriton-esque. Nonfiction: Science, medical, biography, "self-help" meta cognitive sub-genre, memoir, philosophy..
In a way. The book lends well to hearing vs. seeing.
Joan Didion of course! This is a memoir of her year. The year after her husband & partner 24/7 of 40 years suddenly died. It is intimate, transparent and very "her." Amazing writing. It is beyond humbling to even consider I could write a review of a book by the author who is largely considered to be the best essayist of a generation.
She does an excellent job with pacing and phrasing. Her tone is true to the content. Impressive. The wrong narrator would create a very poor experience with this book. Caruso was clear and so easy on the ears.
Please no!!! Do not let anyone make a movie of this book!!
A quote nearing the end of Joan's year of "magical thinking" - grief, passion, strength...
".... [the string of lights] burned out - went dead. This served as a symbol. I bought new strings of colored lights. This served as a profession of faith in the future. I take the opportunity for such professing's, where and when, I can invent them, since I do not yet actually feel this faith in the future.I notice I have lost the skills for ordinary social encounters, however undeveloped those skills may have been a year ago."
"The Year of Magical Thinking"
I wasn't sure what to expect based on the reviews, but I enjoyed this book. I didn't enjoy the circumstances that led to the writing of this book as they were incredibly sad, but I appreciate the author's openness and ability to write so honestly about her feelings during this difficult time of her life.
I saw many reviews that rated this book low because they didn't like the author, felt she was a snob, etc. I am not sure what led to this, because many people who are well off have written memoirs and I didn't see these types of reviews. In her case, does she have more money than me? Yes. Does she live a different lifestyle than I do? Yes. (I don't have a "kitchen notebook" to track dinners I served, but then again, maybe I should start one to document the times I actually cook something edible!). Anyway, my point is that her life is completely different than mine, but that is why I want to read about it. I don't want to read about someone who has my life, as I am experiencing that myself. I didn't get the feeling she was snobbish or had the I-am-so-great attitude that I have encountered in some people I have met.
As far as the book content, I could empathize with much of what she went through. While I have not lost a spouse, I have experienced other losses of loved ones and can relate to many of her observations. I completely agree with her statement that when you mourn, you not only mourn the loved one but also the person you were at various stages of your relationship. I have experienced this many times, but this was the first time I heard someone else articulate this experience. I, too, have looked back and thought what changes had occurred in my life that I went through with a particular person who is no longer here. When she describes how she measured time that year after her husband died by comparing to what they were doing on that same day last year, I got it; it was especially moving when she came to December 31, the day that when she looked back one year she realized it was the first day that her husband was not there one year ago.
The author frequently references events that happened shortly before his death and ended with "and he had 48 hours to live" or however many days, months, etc. That is something I think about a lot when someone suddenly dies; I think of how they expected to do something that weekend, or go into work the next day and then suddenly were not there to follow through with those plans. When I saw my mother's glasses sitting on her bedside table after her death, no longer to be used, that really saddened me. It is things like this that really seem to get to me when someone passes away.
For me, the most poignant part of the book was when the author talks about her daughter's belief as a child that the broken man ["death"] was going to come and that she realized that she alone had to do something to stop him from coming for her. That became more important when she was in a hospital fighting for her life years later, at the time her father had died. As a child, Quintana told her mother that if the "broken man" came for her, she would hold onto the fence so that he could not take her away. As the author is going through the experience of losing her husband and seeing her daughter fight for her life, she observes that Quintana "held onto the fence" while her husband did not. I found that particular line particularly moving.
Overall, while the book dealt with sadness and death, I found the book to be enjoyable and moving at times. I listened to this on audio and I didn't have any issues with the narration. I felt that the narrator's voice perfectly suited how I pictured this author to be and I could easily imagine it was the author speaking
Audible started me reading fiction again. What a treat to have professional actors narrating a book I may not have had the time to "read".
I originally read this book in the hard cover edition. I read it because Joan Didion was the author. I have always enjoyed her writings. It is an excellent book and beautifully written. In less than a year I too was widowed. I reread the book again and then gave my book to a friend who was also recently widowed. I asked her not to return the book but instead, to pass it along to another widowed person and ask them to do the same You don't "get over " the death of a mate of many years, in my case 52 years, you get used to being alone, at best. Today I decided to read it yet again after four years. By all means read this story for yourself and for others who are widowed or may be facing imminent widowhood.