2007: 15. The Year of Magical Thinking

“Life changes fast.

Life changes in the instant.

You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.

The question of self-pity.”

The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion

I actually bought this book at Christmas 2005, and kept delaying reading it, afraid it would just be too sad for words. I finally made myself read it (but took it to the gym, thinking that I would never cry at the gym*) and am so, so glad that I worked up the nerve. It was both more and less than I had expected. Less heartbreaking, in the sense that Didion is the “cool customer,” and even in the middle of her devastating grief keeps her precise style such that I didn’t break into tears (at least, not on every page. I did cry, I must admit). More because the book was even better than I had expected it to be – I know it won all these great awards and got tons of critical acclaim, but I had no idea what a great book this is. Didion writes about grief honestly, clearly and succinctly – this is the sort of book you read, and then you keep, knowing you’ll turn to it again when you need it. Not because it’s sappy and sweet, like a Hallmark card of grief, but because it’s true and honest – about how hard and awful and life changing it is – how crazy it makes you – and how you just have to deal. A book for people who aren’t satisfied by platitudes, but comforting in it’s own true way.


Recommend for: People who appreciate extremely well-written, emotionally true books. Really, for everyone.


*Not true, as it turns out.


Date/Place Completed: 02/02/07, D.C.

Categories: Non-Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017