This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Book Review: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This book was on a list of mine to read for awhile. I finally decided to give it a go and reserved this through the Wake County Library. As with "A False Mirror", I quickly received this from the library.

This one is a biography. I had never heard of Joan Didion, but she apparently is a well-known author who was married to a well-known writer, John Gregory Dunne. I had never heard of him either.

I did find that he was related to Dominick Dunne, who was the father of Dominique Dunne, the actress who was in Poltergeist who was murdered by her boyfriend. These morbid Hollywood stories I can cite; not noteworthy novelists. How very sad.

This novel was very good. It became a bit long-winded towards the end, but the initial reading was quite deep and heart-wrenching.

The story is about Joan Didion, losing her husband after nearly 40 years of marriage. Most of the book deals with her thoughts, her grief, and her memories, after his death.

It was so good and so 'too-close-to-home' that I wanted to quit reading it. It was just too painful and almost obtrusive to read into someone else's emotional grief.

It brought me back to a time in my life when a dear friend of mine lost her husband. I had seen her, days after his death. And this strong, private woman was sitting in her living room, sharing the moments she found her husband, the continuing moments of her despair, and the idiocy of everyday people who are careless in character when someone is going through the worst moment of their life.

It was a life-altering moment for me. I feel selfish saying it, because she was the one who lost her husband. But it made me afraid to lose mine. Death was too close for comfort and I knew that I needed to make some good changes - to enjoy every day as though it were my last.

This novel brought me back to that. I could feel the raw emotions Joan had felt. I also felt how much she loved her husband, how they ended up being so much a part of the other person, and that after almost 40 years, life was not easy without him.

Forty years is a long time, but it was refreshing to know the bond they had came from their time together. I want that - well, more than 40 years - but a commitment with one person for at least 40 years.

I'm getting there, since we have been married 18 years thus far.

Anyway, I realize that I'm at an age, or place in life, where I am not looking back at what I could have missed, but instead, looking forward to what I can gain and especially, with one other person.

Of course, unless Lance Armstrong calls... That might put a kink in my current plan.

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