The Year of Magical Thinking - SRC #18

the year of magical thinkingLife changes fast.

Life changes in the instant.

You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.

The question of self-pity.

The New Yorker editorial blurb on amazon.com for Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking says "This book is about getting a grip and getting on; it’s also a tribute to an extraordinary marriage." While they got the second part correct I'm going to have to disagree with the first part. This book is about having lost your grip and moving along anyway because it's the only thing you can do.

I feel like I lack the words to describe this book. The only thing I can think of is naked - there's definitely a nakedness to this book. I know other people have described it as raw but I think raw is too edgy a word. I think part of the reason I think raw isn't the word I wanted is because to me raw = emotion. Didion's emotions are...reserved I guess. You feel the dept of her grief but the book is more about what was in her head rather than her emotions. Wait, that doesn't sound right. I'm not trying to say she was emotionless. The book was just more analytical rather than emotionally-driven.

Another review I read said they felt like they didn't know why she loved her husband, that they felt like they didn't learn much about him in the book. Does it matter? Does it really matter *why* she loved her husband? She loved him. Shouldn't that be enough? Do we really have to know all about him and all the reasons she loved him? No. We know she loved him. We know he died and her world changed in an instant. The why's of the love don't really matter. The love just was.

It's a brave book. I think it's braver to let people into our heads than our emotions. People (well most people) understand emotions and the emotions of grief or at the very least expect you to have emotions of grief. But trying to tell someone what's going on in your head is more revealing. It's more personal. It's riskier.
I'm rather curious about the one-woman Broadway play based on this now...