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Blue Nights by Joan Didion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It is difficult to write a review about this book because I can't be objective. I can't be objective because as I read this book, I felt as if I were reading my own thoughts, questions, sorrows, regret, memories, and psychological battles. I lost my daughter a year and a half ago. That is why I felt as if I were reading my own story.
I wanted Joan Didion to tie up the loose ends of grief for me. I wanted her to give my some answers on how she coped with her loss. I wanted to know that she was doing just fine. I knew I wouldn't find these answers, but in my own denial about my own daughter's death, I hoped that just possibly she had been able to accomplish something I could not.
Joan forced me to confront some memories of Julie that I had buried in a place in my mind I could not visit. While I did not want to lose what little I had left of my daughter, the memories of her alive and well, I wished not to really see her either. Seeing her made her loss more unbearable.
I wept so many times in this book. I wept for Joan, for Quintana, for Julie, for me. I wept because so many memories were very much alive. I saw them as if I were first seeing the smile that swept across my daughter's face the first time I held her after her birth. I vividly remembered how her eyes locked in on mine and she held my gaze when she was just hours old. I visited those memories, and my heart broke all over again. I went over the details of the memory in my mind. I saw her hair, smelled it, held it in my hands, but only in my memory. I allowed myself to do this as I read this book.
I read some of this book while sitting in a cold doctor's office, just as Joan Didion described. I had to close the book and put it away because I started weeping nearly uncontrollably. I have been in that same place as she was in. In fact, I was in that place. I have experienced the psychological and physical toll that such a death takes on the mother who survives.
Joan Didion does not resolve anything in this book. There is no resolution. How can there be when a mother loses a child?
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