When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. This wise, plainspoken, beautiful audiobook enacts the truth Abigail discovered in the five years since the accident: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it.
©2006 Abigail Thomas (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
This profoundly beautiful story traces the changes in a middle-aged couple's lives after the husband sustains a traumatic brain injury... because he cannot remember his life before, his wife Abigail (author and narrator) reaches across and joins him in his new world. Following her husband's accident (he was tragically hit by a car while out walking the dog), Abigail begins to live alone with their dogs while her husband lives in an assisted living facility where she visits him frequently.
Rather than retrace the story from the point of the accident, the book meanders across time, events, and locations in a way that feels natural and sincere. The story's progression reminded me of how one's thoughts wander during the grieving process, and how a single seemingly unrelated thought will remind one of cherished memories of an event that occurred "before." This is a love story in the truest sense in the way that Abigail's life before is irretrievably lost: She must summon the strength both to rebuild her own life and to be a source of strength to her husband.
Although Abigail's tone is light and matter of fact during most of the book, there were passages I found so moving that I teared up. Having had a loved one who experienced traumatic brain injury, the conversations Abigail describes with her husband felt familiar, as did her kindness in not correcting her husband when he thought they were on vacation when just driving around town or any other number of ways. She showed her love by reaching across and allowing her husband to be who he'd become after the accident, rather than reminding him of what he (and she) had lost.
I found this book intensely moving. There is no "eureka" moment of enlightenment, but rather the day-to-day experience of accepting life and loved ones for what they are rather than what could be. Highly recommended.
"Good, but narration could have been better!"
Too emotionally flat.
This is a well written autobiographical account of a tough situation. It wasn't what I expected. The focus was largely on the situation with the brain injured husband, with both the wife's moving on and the dogs, being minor side issues. Nevertheless, it was interesting and engaging. Unfortunately, I found the narration tough going. Nearly every word was voiced in a relatively mono tone, with a depressed undercurrent. Although anyone going through the circumstances of the book would be depressed at times, a 5-year period was depicted, so it wasn't appropriate to read the entire thing in that way and was tough going for the listener.
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