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Recovering: A Journal
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Recovering: A Journal

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  243 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
May Sarton's sixty-sixth year, 1978-79, was a difficult time: a cherished relationship came to an end, she had a mastectomy, she fought against depression. But, she writes, "When there is personal darkness, when there is a pain to be overcome, when we are forced to renew ourselves against all the odds, the psychic energy required simply to survive has tremendous force." ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 17th 1997 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1980)
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Rebecca Foster
(3.5) This journal covers January to November 1979. Sarton was recovering physically from surgery for breast cancer and emotionally from the end of a 30-year relationship with Judy Matlack, a former lover who was in a nursing home, declining gradually from Alzheimer’s.

I’ve been reading Sarton’s journals at random, rather than in chronological order. Journal of a Solitude is still my favorite, and I slightly prefer At Eighty-Two to this one. As always, though, there are wise words about the s
Oct 13, 2007 Syd rated it really liked it
Shelves: journal-diary
So everyone knows that I love May Sarton, and this journal was no exception. This was written in her sixties, as she was recovering from breast cancer. She writes about her struggles with love in a way I can relate to, as well as the pain of losing her long-time partner to alzheimers.
Nov 27, 2011 Lexie rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Quotes from the book:

"I believe that there are more urgent and honourable occupations than that incomparable waste of time we call suffering." ~ Collette

For me the moral dilemma ... has been how to make peace with the unacceptable ...

.. a spacious austerity.

Tenderness is the grace of the heart, as style is the grace of the mind ...

Sometimes the unmeasured, the unlimited natural powers are what I need, what everyone needs. I am tired of measure, control, doing the right thing.

The worst thing righ
Dec 23, 2011 Scartowner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A journal (diary) writer cannot help but compare one's own to the superior eloquence of May Sarton's. Although she planned to publish her journal, her entries are brutally honest. Whatever she might have censored for the public, so much more is revealed. The year (December '78 through November 1979) progressed from utter despair and rages to a much more accepting understanding of her life and its painful changes. (It came to me near the end that she must have been bipolar.) Dated December 29, ...more
Oct 15, 2008 Judy rated it it was ok
I was impressed by parts of this book, in particular when Sarton writes about her mastectomy and her lover's suffering from Alzheimer's - but long chunks of the journal seem to have a sort of relentlessly upbeat tone, as she's writing about named friends who will be reading every word and so can't say anything remotely critical. I'll be interested to read one of her novels and see if she has more freedom to express herself in fiction.
Though dealing with loss (physical and emotional), this one is more upbeat than the previous journals; revolving cast of characters can be a bit overwhelming, but that's the way her life was! I'm not an animal person, but Tamas and Bramble's appearance are interesting. She seems to encounter lots of snowstorms - I went to college in Maine around that time and don't recall such harsh weather as she describes. At times her descriptions of New England sound more like the Aleutian Islands!
Josephine Ensign
Feb 05, 2016 Josephine Ensign rated it it was ok
It seems so strange to me now to wrap my head around the fact that she wrote this 'personal' journal specifically with the aim of having it published. She acknowledges this tension in the book. While there are a few nuggets of interesting self-insights, much of this is her quoting long sections of other people's writing and adding a brief reaction to it. Disappointing after having read her much more engaging Journal of Solitude.
Mar 16, 2010 Maryjoamani rated it it was amazing
See my review on A Reckoning by May Sarton. This journal, one of many May Sarton wrote over the years, is wonderful! She writes it at age 67 after two hard years of difficult events (unrequited love, mastectomy, poor review of recent novel). She struggles in the journal with depression and even that struggle causes her to question her resolve but despite the struggle, so much light shines in her daily detailing of friends' visits, gardening, long walks, her dogs. Read and enjoy!
Jul 15, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second May Sarton journal in a month. The first I read with my memoir group, which was sharply divided between Sarton-haters and Sarton-lovers. I was in the latter group - I appreciate her journals for their unique, transparent nature. If hearing about the inner life of an accomplished writer (who is in her sixties, lives in solitude and is a lesbian) sounds interesting to you, then I'd recommend this. Otherwise, skip it - she'll drive you crazy.
Sep 08, 2012 Anita rated it it was amazing
I have read a couple of Ms. Sarton's journals now and I have to say this is by far one of my favorites!
Mary Beth
Apr 04, 2013 Mary Beth added it
Shelves: read-wv-150
I enjoy reading journals about women living in solitude. This one had some wonderful insights, but it wasn't the best of its nature.
Melanie Griffin
Jan 27, 2015 Melanie Griffin rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed this book. It's the nature of a journal to capture an author's voice, and I felt as if May and I became fast friends as I read about her story and struggles. I have a lot in common with her, struggling with my writing, escaping to my lovely house in New England, cherishing my feline friends and the local wildlife, reveling in the latest changes in the perennial bed. She had a lot of loss in her life and was grieving the loss of a lover when she wrote Recovery. Her ups and downs ...more
Allie Mullin
Apr 03, 2013 Allie Mullin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: creatives, expand
I love reading May Sarton's journals. She really probes the conflict creative minds experience towing the line between introvert and extrovert in honest journal entries and exploration of everyday life. I do find the torment she experiences by choosing to live in solitude really painful and sometimes scary, though.
Black Elephants
Nov 01, 2013 Black Elephants rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I think it was too self-aware. I felt like I could see her thinking, "Well, people like to read these things in my journals." And I love May Sarton (Plant Dreaming Deep and etc are beautiful), but I just couldn't get through this journal.
Jun 06, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
I definitely read this book at the right time in my life. I took away such a strong sense of self and understanding, and reassurance of my own feelings upon finishing this book. Remarkable. I’m looking forward to reading more by May Sarton.
Jan 17, 2016 Tracy rated it it was amazing
I love May Sarton's journals! I wish I would have met her or would meet someone who knew her...she sounds like an interesting woman!
Jay Cardam
Dec 02, 2014 Jay Cardam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-autobio
I'm currently rereading Sarton after many years( like 30) and enjoying the journals even more this go around. What my gut reacted to when I was 30 now becomes so much clearer in my 60's.
This is a book I am dipping in and out of at the moment as the need arises, I love her style of writing.
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May Sarton was born on May 3, 1912, in Wondelgem, Belgium, and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her first volume of poetry, Encounters in April, was published in 1937 and her first novel, The Single Hound, in 1938. An accomplished memoirist, Sarton boldly came out as a lesbian in her 1965 book Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing. Her later memoir, Journal of a Solitude, was an account of ...more
More about May Sarton...

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“Still, a person who cannot express love is stopping the flow of life, is censoring where censorship is a form of self-indulgence, the fear of giving oneself away.” 7 likes
“I reach and have reached the timeless moment, the pure suspension within time, only through love.” 6 likes
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