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The Year of Magical Thinking
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The Year of Magical Thinking

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  104,715 Ratings  ·  8,073 Reviews
From one of America’s most iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage—and a life, in good times and bad—that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published October 4th 2005 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published September 1st 2005)
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Kathryn Hurn Linda, I just finished reading this book this morning. Didion writes her stream of consciousness about her loss when her husband dies and the equally…moreLinda, I just finished reading this book this morning. Didion writes her stream of consciousness about her loss when her husband dies and the equally lostness and helplessness of her daughter's sudden illness both of which she is powerless to control or alter. If you want to read her thoughts to help you feel not alone in what you are experiencing; that what you're feeling and thinking is what a lot of other people feel and think at such times, then I think it would be a good read. Didion and her husband, John, were together for a lot of years, so much of her thoughts are in fact a kind of remarkable about the kind of marriage they shared and the kind of close family and friends they cultivated. She remarks on subjects she and her husband touched on such as 'living more' like seeing Paris again and perhaps more spontaneity in every day life. Although you don't actually see Joan doing it, her book aims to give you permission to surrender fully to the sadness that's loss and grief, I found that refreshing to hear in a culture who wants to put death and loss to the side and wants you to 'get over it' so you can get back to the job and the focus on pleasure and having fun.

If you're looking for joy and courage, I'd recommend Marcus Aurelius' Meditations and letters from Seneca. Both deal with most of the eventualities of the human condition. Also Hildegard de Bingen's writing's, songs, etc deal with illness and suffering and the overcoming of such.
Happy reading!(less)

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Kim
Oct 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who don't give up
Recommended to Kim by: Maurice
You might think of me as a cynic.

If you’re being kind, that is. I’m the one that says ’Seriously?’ when being told of some tragic event--like someone would actually make up the horrific thing. I’m the one that views the whole process of death--the telling, the grieving, the service of any kind, the ’after’-- as playing out like I’m in a soap opera bubble. Which camera should I look into when I break down again? Strike one against me.

Strike Two: I've never been much of a fan of Joan Didion... I
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Books Ring Mah Bell
Disclaimer: Being fresh into the grieving process myself, you may want to skip this review and head onto others. Undoubtedly I'll purge my grief in a review about a book on grief. You've been warned.

Right off the top I will say this for the book: raw, powerful, honest, amazing.
If you have any interest in the grief process, READ THIS BOOK.

The only criticism that I might have is that there's a lot of name dropping. Insert famous names and some fancy locations (Beverly Hills, Malibu), talk about u
...more
noisy penguin
May 21, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one should read this book.
I hated this book. It is the reason I instituted my "100 pages" policy (if it's not promising 100 pages in, I will no longer waste my time on it). So within the 100 pages I did read, all I got from Didion was that she and her husband used to live a fabulous life and they know a lot of famous people. She spoke of the '60s as a time when "everyone" was flying from LA to San Francisco for dinner. Um, no, actually, "everyone" wasn't doing that then and they're not doing it now. Instead of saying "ou ...more
Darwin8u
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“It occurs to me that we allow ourselves to imagine only such messages as we need to survive.”
― Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

description

In four days it will be one year since my father-in-law died in an accidental shooting. He had recently turned 60 and recently celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary. In 18 days it will be four years since my older brother died suddenly in a Back Hawk crash in Germany. He was closing in on his 40th birthday. He was preparing to land.

I had two father-figures i
...more
Debbie "DJ"
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This is a hard book for me to review, as I know my own personal experience will be foremost. A big thank you to a wonderful friend who sent this to me after the loss of my own partner three weeks ago. So yes, this book is about grief and loss. It is Didion's own personal journey after the loss of her husband. The first lines in her memoir begin...
"Life changes fast.
Life changes in an instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity."
Those words resonated with
...more
Dawn
May 30, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No One
Hated it, hated it, hated it- but kept reading with the hope that all my pain and suffering would somehow be worth it in the end. It wasn't. The same self-pitying, whiney, depressing, self-important sentiments are basically repeated over and over again only with different words. Joan Didion can obviously write well, but she should have left this cathartic piece in her closet. And I'm not averse to reading novels that deal with grief. This one was just way too self-indulgent and redundant for me. ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
I have only experienced the death of a few friends and my grandparents, so I cannot say that the grief that Joan Didion describes has ever been my own. However, her loss of her husband John from a sudden heart attack while simultaneously her daughter Quintana was fighting for her life talked to me very deeply. This is not a feel good, self-help book. It is a heartbreaking and yet cathartic reliving of her first year as a widow. I admit to wetting the pages with a few tears as I read the entire b ...more
Greg
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like Johnny Rotten said during their last (in the universe where they never would re-form again in the mid-90's) show, "Do you ever feel like you've been cheated?"
I do Johnny, I do.
I feel cheated by this book. I bought it because it cost me a dollar. I wasn't interested in it that much. I finally picked it up to read because I wanted to write a review about how pathetic and whiny it was. I thought I'd say something about how now that baby-boomers are starting to kick the bucket they want a fuc
...more
Orsodimondo
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, memoir
ANCHE PIÙ CHE UN GIORNO DI PIÙ
Quando terminò la cerimonia ci recammo nella villetta di Pebble Beach. C’erano degli stuzzichini, dello champagne, una terrazza aperta sul Pacifico, una cosa molto semplice. Per la luna di miele passammo qualche notte in bungalow del ranch San Ysidro di Montecito e poi, annoiati, fuggimmo al Beverly Hills Hotel.

Ce la farà una persona che scrive queste cose, con questo tono, ce la farà a trasmettere il suo dolore, il senso della sua perdita, a risultare empatica…?

description
J
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Jason Koivu
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To call Joan Didion cold or even heartless - true as it may be in the light of The Year of Magical Thinking, this monument to the analytical dissection of grief - is itself a cold and heartless condemnation. We all grieve in our own way. This is hers.

After losing numerous family members suddenly and too soon, Didion then lost her husband and daughter within the span of a year. This book is her cathartic contemplation of that loss.

Heartrending, yes occasionally. Heartwarming, no never. Didion's
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Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She's best known for her novels and her literary journalism.

Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work.
More about Joan Didion...
“A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.” 1877 likes
“Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.” 1038 likes
More quotes…