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January 17th, 2007 - Deirdre on reading, writing and living

Jan. 17th, 2007 08:39 am Finished Fourth Book

When I picked up Joan Didion's The Year of magical Thinking I didn't expect a quick, enjoyable read. I'm the type of person who hates sad movies and gets choked up at certain commercials, think "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." So when I saw this book on the reading list of a memoir reading class I'm taking, my heart sunk.

I expected to cry and I did. But I didn't expect to be delighted and I was. The book is like a dream with archetypal signposts floating through. By repeating certain phrases about the kind of heart condition that Didion's husband, writer John Gregory Dunn, had, "the widow maker," or "I tell you that I shall not live two days" a quote from mythic knight Sir Gawain, we are able to follow Didion through her nightmarish year.

She articulates the nuances of denial. But exploring that elusive defense mechanism, she reveals a universal human truth about grief and mourning.

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