Jim Good's Reviews > The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
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's review
May 10, 2010

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bookshelves: biography, non-fiction, sociology
Read in May, 2010

The book covers Didion’s life, thoughts, and reminiscences the year following her husband’s sudden death from cardiac arrest. In the telling of the story she discusses the differences between bereavement and grief, the desire to remember and move on, and the inner workings of the medical community as it related to her husband and her daughter (twice hospitalized during the year). The prose of the writing helps in understanding the process as waves of thoughts run through the narrative. The thoughts are at times constructive, self-motivating, narcissistic, disjointed, and interweaved with memories of a time now gone.

Didion is inspiring for her ability to remain active in a time of grief and trauma. She at once invokes pity for the circumstances thrown at her, while also allowing for envy of the life and love she has experienced. My takeaway is that bereavement is the process of reconciling memories of a time spent together with a loss of a future that never will be.

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