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The Year of Magical Thinking: The Play

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  256 ratings  ·  33 reviews
“this happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won’t when it happens to you . . .”

In this dramatic adaptation of her award-winning, bestselling memoir (which Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times called “an indelible portrait of loss and grief . . . a haunting portrait of a four-decade-long marriage), Joan Didion transforms the story of the sudden a
Paperback, 62 pages
Published May 15th 2007 by Vintage
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Thanatopsis: Death, Dying, and Mortality
106th out of 240 books — 147 voters
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1st out of 5 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 475)
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Maria  (Scratchbook)
Una donna che interroga la tragedia, che ripercorre attimo dopo attimo, a cercare l'errore, così da provare a porre rimedio all'inevitabile. L'ospedale sbagliato, il dottore sbagliato, l'ora sbagliata nel giorno sbagliato di un anno sbagliato. Quando la vita cambia, e cambia in un istante, aggrapparsi a un precario perché sembra l'unica soluzione, disperata e necessaria. Se avesse trovato una spiegazione, il dolore, forse, sarebbe andato via.
I guess it was well written. But it was so sad. And I know it was supposed to be, but I just don't like such sad tales (see also: Dancer In The Dark). But in addition to not liking it because it was so sad, I kept being reminded of and annoyed by her social status. When she mentions the NY Times and LA Times calling, and in such a way as to imply that _of course_ they'd call.... When she talks about all the fancy places she'd live or vacation at... and so on an so on. I know why she mentions suc ...more
I don't think I can fully appreciate this play without reading the novel. However, I was moved by the play so I can't imagine what the novel will do to me.
This sad and self-indulgent book shows that death happens, even in the lives of the rich and famous, and grieving is painful, even while jet-setting between New York and Malibu. It’s actually the script for a play produced in 2007, based upon the author’s memoir, but is presented in 9 short chapters. The story is told in first person, from the perspective of a screenwriter whose husband dies in the beginning and whose adult daughter is afflicted with serious illnesses throughout the book.

It’s tr
Tom Romig
This happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won't when it happens to you.
And it will happen to you. The details will be different, but it will happen to you.
That's what I'm here to tell you.

So begins Joan Didion's play about the deaths of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and her daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne Michael. (Ms. Didion writes movingly, painfully about their deaths in her books The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights. Blue Nights is also a meditation on a
Kim Ward
I know it may sound odd at first, but I read this book during the year my mother was dying of cancer. Because it is an unflinching look at the experience of losing loved ones, it was a great comfort. What's more, I could almost SEE the show being performed in my head while I read it, and the shining dialogue she creates bolstered me, reminded me of hope, survival, and how we must care for and remember those we love in order to rise above tragedy.
Beh, per certi versi mi ha rammentato Paula, di Isabel Allende.

Perdere marito e figlia a poco tempo di distanza, non solo deve essere straziante, ma anche profondamente destabilizzante. Allora che altro puoi fare se non aprire le cateratte della parola e sperare che in questo flusso di ricordi, di amore, di speranze, di illusioni, di errori, di recriminazioni, di sensi di colpa e di gioia che riversi su chiunque abbia voglia di prestare orecchio possa finire per smarrirsi anche quel dolore sord
Valerie Gordon
I had never read her lengthier novel - mistakenly downloaded the abridged play version of this very sad story. Enjoyed it.
Samantha Hartzell
a poignant heartfelt story of trajedy and coping
I don't know what to think of the coincidence that I bought this book and began reading it on the same day in December, within the same 1 hour timeframe that Joan Didion's husband had a heart attack and died in the book. I guess it is just that, a coincidence, but eerie all the same.
This is a fascinating, heartbreaking, informative story about loss and grief. I loved reading it, as much for the story of their marriage and their literary lives as for the insight into what it is like to be in mou
Feb 23, 2014 Lawrence marked it as to-read
Se dovesse capitare a me darei tranquillamente e inesorabilmente fuori di matto. O seguirei i miei cari.
Ma a me non può capitare. Vero?
Mi piacerebbe molto vedere/sentire Vanessa Redgrave, attrice che amo molto, recitare questo magnifico e difficilissimo monologo.
A leggerlo sale il pianto. Non so a recitarlo. O a sentirlo recitare.
Megan Fetterolf
I listened to this audio book and thought the person they chose to read it was the perect choice. There were mixed reviews at book club, but I really liked it. I thought it painted a good picture about what it's like to lose someone you love and the grief that follows after everyones live around you goes on, while you seems frozen in time.
Louise Sullivan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A quick read to add to a list of completely depressing books I've read of late. This one perhaps touched me less deeply as I am unmarried and with no children. But if I could relate, it would probably be a brilliantly honest portrayal of something I will hopefully never go through.
first of all, don't be mislead by the title. This book does not contain any magical thoughts. My nook died, and as I await delivery of the knockoff battery I bought for it, I read this downer today at work.
btw I was duped unknowingly by a jacketless book.
Less intense than the book just on reading. I have the advantage of having seen Vanessa Redgrave in this on stage, so I can hear her voice as I read it. Read the book first, then the play as a follow-up since it covers events not covered completely in the book.
This is a book on grief; dealing with it and coping w/ it. This really was a great book because I could relate to a lot of the same emotions this writer was feeling. This book helped put various things in perspective.
Jonathan Mandell
the play version of Joan Didion's book about the year in which both her husband and her daughter died. It doesn't really work as theater, but it's worthwhile to read as an abridged version of her book.
muerte. enfermedad. muerte otra vez. y escribir de ello sin asimilarlo, ello. joan didion logra un relato de la vida después de la muerte, a pesar de la muerte. una genial adaptación de su memoria.
A moving and brilliant literary account of the difficult year following her husband's death and her daughter's life threatening illnesses. Still one of the most brilliant American woman of letters.
Of course, death, illness, tragedy are tough. Maybe I am a terrible person for rolling my eyes throughout this one, but I don't need to read a self-righteous, uppity new yorker's sob story.
A beautiful, gripping, portrait of grief. It makes you want to cherish every moment. Because one day, you may sit down to dinner and have your whole life change.
Her writing style is so conversation and easy to read. Always a pleasure.
Wow, this was such a crush to read too.

A tragic, real-life story of one year in this woman's life. Heartbreaking, but encouraging because of the way she handles things.
It's almost too hard to read, but you need to to be human. Or, rather, to survive being human.
Jan 24, 2012 Sonya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
I read this the day after a good friend passed on. It helped me keep somewhat sane.
Mar 07, 2008 Marika marked it as to-read
I had no idea she made this into a play.
Karen Muldrow
A challenging and poignant portrayal of grief.
Great performance by Vanessa Redgrave....
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Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She's best known for her novels and her literary journalism.

Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work.
More about Joan Didion...
The Year of Magical Thinking Slouching Towards Bethlehem Play It as It Lays Blue Nights The White Album

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