Chrissie's Reviews > Epilogue: A Memoir

Epilogue by Anne Roiphe
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Feb 15, 10

bookshelves: kirkus, bio, life-stages, philo-psychol, text-checked, usa
Read from February 13 to 15, 2010

A wonderful book about a difficult subject! How do you feel when your husband dies after a long happy marriage? The author is almost 70 and she had been married for almost 40 years. The book isn't about the death itself, but afterwards - how you cope with living without the other oerson. This deals with a subject that usually never appeals to me. I do not like books that deal out pat answers on how to solve problems. They couldn't possibly succeed - everyone is different. So I rarely want any advice. It is not that I have the answers, far from it, but I have to figure out myself how to deal with a "problem". So why did I pick up the book? Well, because I was drawn to the writing style. I am not even faced with this problem, being happily married and about 10 years younger than the author. Nevertheless this is something I might have to deal with some day, unless I pop off first which I probably will. BUT when my father died I watched my Mom and wondered how I could help. That was before I read the book. Honestly I don't think the book advises - not at all. What it does do is let you consider what that would be like. Rather than giving advice it poses hundreds and hundred of questions that you, the reader can ponder. So you can easily understand why I appreciated this book. When the author finaaly reaches an answer, she flips it in her head and asks - is that all total bullshit?! If you are looking for answers - don't read this book. If you want to try and understand how it may feel and want to be egged on by questions that you yourself can ponder then I highly recommend it.

There is humor on every dam page. She laughs at herself and her crazy thoughts. This lets the readers laugh at themselves too. When it gets sad, she immediately counters with humor. There is so much in this book. I think I read it too quickly. Perhaps it would have been even better had I juggled it with another book so that I could go on thinking about the questions, let them sink in so that maybe I would find my own solutions.

The author's descriptions are spot-on! She describes family and reading and eating and computer friendships and emotions and memories..... Are you filled with violent emotions or do you go numb? I think I would be numbed. That is how the author reacts. How do you make a meal - FOR ONE! Everything is hunky-dory and then her husband's handwritten recipe falls from a cookbook and the tears just flood down her cheeks. Over a recipe?!

"I cannot stop the tears.........But what can I do, they have arrived.I trust they will go. I could call a friend. I don't. These tears are not matters for a friend. Just between H and me. Whiich under the circumstances means just for me. Tears do not wash away the debris they bring any more than rain empties the sky of water. I go to my desk. 'Welcome,' says my computer. Writing stops the tears: immediately. I would never risk harm to my computer. Water might seep in and destroy a chip, an electronic pulsea necessary connection. I type dry-eyed. I have restored the levee."

This is what I mean by humor! Had I written a review as I read the book I would have quoted much, much more - the writing is excellent. I have not been disappointed. This is a five star book. A daunting subject, dealt with honestly and perceptively, interwoven with humor.

Starting the book: I am tired of being so naive, thinking every book is going to be magical and then getting disapopinted. So I am going to keep my mouth shut until the end. I will only say that this is definitely not the kind of book I usually pick, but I was impressed by the writing. Now through page 19 I confirm that the writing IS very beautiful, very expressive and poignant. This woman has something to say and she says it well. Please don't let me be sdisappointed. One short quote to give you an idea:

"I am not here if no one sees or hears me. Like the proverbial tree in the forestI neither fall nor stand unobserved. But I am observing myself and that should be enough. "

How ill one feel after 40 years of marriage and your husband dies?
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Lee (new) - added it

Lee I have this on my TBR. If Chrissie approves then it's got to be good!


Chrissie It is good for two simple reasons - the author writes with humor and doesn't provied any set answers. Guess what I will read next - Cutting for Stone. That is b/c YOU so highly praised it! The admiration is mutual!


message 3: by Lee (new) - added it

Lee I hope you love it! It's a fantastic story.


Chrissie I think I am going to give Epilogue 4 stars. I liked it alot, but still, 5 stars has to be saved for the very, very most special.

I like that there is a map in the front.... here goes!


message 5: by Lee (new) - added it

Lee I can't wait to read your ongoing review!


Chrissie Maybe less is better.


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