Corinne's Reviews > An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
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's review
Sep 30, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: advance-reader-s-copy, 2008, non-fiction, tragedy, memoir, pregnancy-and-birth, france
Read in August, 2008

I remember being in the hallway at church once talking with a friend who was pregnant and nearly due. While chatting, another woman came by and told my pregnant friend about how the only time she went overdue during a pregnancy, her baby was a stillborn. I was so offended and shocked that she would bring it up right then - obviously distressing my pregnant friend.

I wish I'd read this book before I had that experience. My view of that entire exchange has shifted.

Elizabeth and her husband were living a carefree and idyllic life in France. She finds out she is going to have a baby and this first pregnancy was spent in pastoral bliss. Life comes to a shattering halt, however, when her son is stillborn. We wade with Elizabeth through her grief and through the process of mourning not only the boy she lost, but the life together they might have had.

The writing is so crisp and with such biting wit. I had not anticipated a narration of such a somber subject to be so clever and tender. One minute I am weeping and the next I am laughing out loud. She guides us from her innermost raw emotions out into the world she had to navigate and the people she had to interact with after her baby died. Her experience validates the whole range of fears and hopes, anger and sorrow that one can experience when pregnant and when dealing with loss. Even those coping with a different kind of loss can find solace and communion:

...surely when tragedy has struck you dumb, you should be given a stack of cards that explains it for you. When Pudding died, I wanted my stack. I still want it. My first child was a stillborn, it would say on the front.

An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination takes us to a different side of pregnancy literature - providing a voice and a memory for those women who have likewise lost a child and carried that burden of grief. If I was standing with that friend now, the one who had lost her baby, I would hug her and sit down and listen to her story.

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02/04/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Janene (new)

Janene what you said here got me thinking. I'm so quick to pass a judgment when someone makes such a "mistake" with what they say. But they are just human, and were we in the same situation, would we feel the need somewhere inside to say something like that as well.. ? I know I've said my share of mistakes!

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