Acutely candid and personal, like finding your mother's or grandmother's diary and discovering, years later, exactly what she was thinking, what was behind her eyes, in the grey matter, during one of the greatest tragedies of her life. This is this book at its best.
At its worst, it is an exercise in self-pity (the author writes it is so), that examines and re-examines the events surrounding her husband's death and her daughter's hospitalization during the winter of 2003-04. Over and over, in gruesome, exacting, excruciating detail - every conversation with a doctor or a friend or doorman, every moment in a taxi, every casual gesture turned over again and inspected for new meaning and greater or different appreciation. And you, as the reader, must sit like a patient friend and give an ear while she does so. While she not only deconstructs and reassembles the details of her grief, but wraps them around herself like a cape or casts them into the air and watches them flutter to the earth like pages in one of her or her husband's books.
But they are immensely readable pages.