Published by Vintage on February 13th 2007
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I heard a lot of hype about this book prior to reading it and by the reviews I see that People either really liked it or disliked. I think I am in the middle. I find it very hard to rate someone’s grief and story of their year since the loss of a loved one (her husband). Joan Didion’s memoir opens with her daughter being ill with pneumonia and being in the hospital. After deciding to eat at home, she begins to make dinner and realizes that her husband is not longer talking to her. After calling an ambulance her husband is declared dead at the hospital. Didon goes into detail about her year following her husband’s death. Her daughter continues to have health issues and several serious hospitalizations, brain surgery, etc. Didion goes back and forth telling us about her marriage, the ceremony, their vacations, events with friends, etc. I noticed that several reviews mention her wealth and social status. How much or how little money we have does not determine how deeply we feel or how much we grieve. Some also describe her as being cold in her descriptions. Perhaps if she went into detail about crying jags, screaming fits, etc. the book would be more dramatic…but perhaps that is too personal for Didion and everyone grieves in his/her own way. I am sure writing this book helped her grieving process. Did I feel connected with her? No, but I appreciate her telling her story. She is a gifted writer.