The Year of Magical Thinking


For this year’s A to Z Blog challenge, I thought I’d draw back the curtain and explore the life and times of a bibliophile.  Care to join me?

This one is a difficult selection for me.  Joan Didion wrote The Year of Magical Thinking in response to the death of her husband, John Dunne, and it was published the same year that my father died.

Joan Didion writes about that odd feeling that, somehow, the deceased is only “away,” and will return.  It’s the reason she couldn’t give away her husband’s shoes; he would need them when he came back.  That her daughter also passed away during this time frame brings an added heartache to the story, and to the grieving process.

The book is very detached, almost clinical in its tone, which simultaneously helps to heighten the sense of loss, but also mitigate it somehow.  All I know is that when I lost my father, I also lost my way.  I did not know how to navigate the waters of grief and mourning, did not know how I was going to ever be “right” again.  In the face of that raw, excruciating pain, I needed a dispassionate voice to lead me to calmer waters.  In that, The Year of Magical Thinking was exactly the compass I needed.