The World According To Garp / The Year of Magical Thinking

 The World According to Garp by John Irving

I started this a few years ago and gave up on it because I found it depressing. I remember I set it aside for a few days, then picked it up again only to find the next chapter starting with a kidnapping and rape. That was just too much, so even though I was three quarters of the way through and I'd never given up on a book after reading so much of it, I quit. A couple of weeks ago I was finishing up some of the books on my Guilt List, saw the dnf next to this one, and decided to try again. I did finish it this time, but can't say I enjoyed it. And yet there's something about it that I can't quite put my finger on. The overall tone, the funny with the tragic, was appealing in some way even while I wasn't liking what I was reading. In the end I was half glad I read it, and all glad I was done and could put it away.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
This is one of the best portrayals of grief I've ever encountered. I listened to an audio version performed by the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave, whose wonderful dramatization was so vivid and heartfelt I don't think I'll ever forget it. Even if you've already read the book, do listen to this. It's less than 2 hours long and very much worth your time. Heartbreaking, and absolutely beautiful.


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