Book Review: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion


This review is going to be emotional and probably a bit difficult to write, but it is important. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I lost my mother on December 31, 2016. Her death was unexpected and sudden and has left me with debilitating grief. I turn to books for everything in my life, so I tried to find comfort in them during this time. I asked the wonderful Litsy community for recommendations of books dealing with grief and this is the book that was recommended the most.

This was my first time reading Joan Didion, but I knew she is absolutely legendary in the literary world. The Year of Magical Thinking is a memoir chronically her husband’s sudden death. During the time of her husband’s death, her daughter Quintana was in a coma. This book details her grief of these events.

Didion can make the most simple sentence sound poetic and lyrical. Her description of grief really resonated with me, it was so raw and real. At times it was intensely painful to read, seeing my feelings put into words. But I also couldn’t put it down, I finally felt understood. Everyone around you offers thoughts and prayers when going through a loss but you feel that no one really understands the pain that you are feeling.

Didion described the feeling of shock, helplessness, anger and guilt that plagued me in the hours, days and weeks following my mom’s death. This book is gorgeous and heartbreaking. I feel like I’ve barely begun my grieving process, but this book made me feel understood and most importantly not alone. If you’ve ever gone through a loss or know someone who has, I wholly reccomend this book.



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