Book Review:The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Posted February 3, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

ISBN: 9781400078431
Book Review:The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan DidionThe Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Published by Vintage International on 2007
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Literary
Pages: 227
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Buy on Amazon

Didion's journalistic skills are displayed as never before in this story of a year in her life that began with her daughter in a medically induced coma and her husband unexpectedly dead due to a heart attack. With vulnerability and passion, Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience of love and loss. 'The Year Of Magical Thinking' will speak directly to anyone who has ever loved a husband, wife, or child.

I am not sure where I heard about this book that caused me to pick it up at the library. I was also not sure what to expect since I had never read anything by this author before. Anyway, I am soooooo glad that I picked this bok up!

What I liked

I loved how raw she was on the page. I mean you could feel her grief seeping through her words. That is how raw it was. She expertly conveys the confusion she felt, how lost she felt without her husband. She also delves into the landscape of grief. I am not sure that I would want to read scholarly journals if my husband died but she did in trying to understand exactly what was happening to her.  They say that knowledge s power and that KNOWING is part of the grief process.  I mean how many of us had spent hours googling whenever something big bad happened to us. I know my mom spent hours reading up on bipolar when I was first diagnosed in trying to understand and make sense of the costs that she felt that we all feel when we are drowning in sorrow.

Things were made even more difficult as her,  daughter also fell ill during this time. It was a double whammy and she let us in to see her at her lowest point as she attempted to make sense of all of it. It was hard enough that her husband died but to have her only child be in ICU for septic shock not knowing if she was going to pull out of it or not. Many people would have collapsed under the enormous weight of that cross, but Joan Didion took to trying to understand WHY things had happened. There were no answers but I am guessing that while researching she felt more in control than if she let her mind just freely wander.

Many people seem to be holding it all together only to be dying little by little on the inside.  This books hows both sides and tells us WARNS us not to make such assumptions. As did I. After I had read the book I had wondered how Joan Didion could have been so composed in her writing after everything that had taken place. The more I thought, the more sense it made. I was just looking at the shell and not reading between the line which was of a woman desperate to regain control over a very chaotic time in her life.

The Year of Magical Thinking is a treatise on how a person can come back to the living after dying. Click To Tweet

I have a confession to make. When I first saw the title in the library, I thought this was gonna be a book such as Gretchen Rubin’s  Happier at home or the happiness project. This was much more. This was book on how to navigate the tremulous waters of pure unadulterated grief. I know it does not appear that way n the surface, but if we dig into it, we can come away knowing how one woman navigated the rough seas of grief and came out the other side.

What I did not Like


Omg, I LOVED THIS BOOK!! I have a new favorite author whose backlist I want to read RIGHT THIS SECOND! I LOVED her writing her style everything.  It is safe to say that this MAY be going on my top ten of the year in non-fiction.







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