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This book is beautifully written and gently narrated by the author. It is--on several rare occasions wistfully funny--but primarily it is an exploration of loss, guilt, and dealing with the vagaries of life. This isn't a how-to manual, a therapy session or a book for people not conversant with disaster.
Instead, it is a frank memoir of a 60 something year old woman and her experience of life as a chasm opens and the bottom falls out of her world. On the whole a very personal and openly written book about growing, coping with change and learning to love what is. Learning to, as the author says, weave it all in and then learning how to keep on weaving it in.
Painful, poetic, insightful, sad, & eccentric are words that come to mind. Certainly not a book for everyone, but I thought it was excellent. Be warned this book discusses difficult and disturbing themes. That said--I'm still glad I listened.
29 of 32 people found this review helpful
This profoundly beautiful story traces the changes in a middle-aged couple's lives after the husband sustains a traumatic brain injury... because he cannot remember his life before, his wife Abigail (author and narrator) reaches across and joins him in his new world. Following her husband's accident (he was tragically hit by a car while out walking the dog), Abigail begins to live alone with their dogs while her husband lives in an assisted living facility where she visits him frequently.
Rather than retrace the story from the point of the accident, the book meanders across time, events, and locations in a way that feels natural and sincere. The story's progression reminded me of how one's thoughts wander during the grieving process, and how a single seemingly unrelated thought will remind one of cherished memories of an event that occurred "before." This is a love story in the truest sense in the way that Abigail's life before is irretrievably lost: She must summon the strength both to rebuild her own life and to be a source of strength to her husband.
Although Abigail's tone is light and matter of fact during most of the book, there were passages I found so moving that I teared up. Having had a loved one who experienced traumatic brain injury, the conversations Abigail describes with her husband felt familiar, as did her kindness in not correcting her husband when he thought they were on vacation when just driving around town or any other number of ways. She showed her love by reaching across and allowing her husband to be who he'd become after the accident, rather than reminding him of what he (and she) had lost.
I found this book intensely moving. There is no "eureka" moment of enlightenment, but rather the day-to-day experience of accepting life and loved ones for what they are rather than what could be. Highly recommended.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
What three words best describe Abigail Thomas’s performance?
Too emotionally flat.
Any additional comments?
This is a well written autobiographical account of a tough situation. It wasn't what I expected. The focus was largely on the situation with the brain injured husband, with both the wife's moving on and the dogs, being minor side issues. Nevertheless, it was interesting and engaging. Unfortunately, I found the narration tough going. Nearly every word was voiced in a relatively mono tone, with a depressed undercurrent. Although anyone going through the circumstances of the book would be depressed at times, a 5-year period was depicted, so it wasn't appropriate to read the entire thing in that way and was tough going for the listener.