Book #22: The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion

Happy spring break, world! (Or not, since I’m one of the lucky few experiencing a week off right now). I just realized that I forgot to post about finishing this book a few days ago, so better late than never, I guess.

I remember reading some of The Year of Magical Thinking in high school after my mom read it, but I never finished the book. In my writing workshop class we’ve discussed Didion a bit, so I borrowed this book from my roommate so I could remind myself of Didion’s memoir.

This book is perfect for anyone coping with the loss of a loved one. Didion’s husband died of a heart attack in 2003, and at the same time, her only daughter was hospitalized in critical condition after a severe bout of the flu.

Didion writes about the first year of life after her husband’s death, which unfortunately saw many more complications with her daughter’s health. Her writing is honest and sometimes fragmented, much like the thoughts of those coping with death.

I think The Year of Magical Thinking is a must-read for anyone dealing with a recent loss. I think I had a bit of difficulty in relating to some of the book because (thankfully) I haven’t dealt with death in a long time in my direct family, but I imagine this is a book that readers could revisit many times through life when loss is a bit more raw.

Now I’m ready to turn back to my required school reading. My plan is to jump ahead a bit to start reading John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, required for my Southern Lit class, in the hopes that I can continue to stay ahead on the seven novels I still have left to read for the semester.


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