Kind of wandering and still very interesting story of Joan Didion's year of grief/grieving/mourning for death of husband and (separate incident) serious illness of her daughter. I don't have plans to repost it, which says something.
Joan Didion is an amazing writer, I think this is the first book of hers I've read but I've loved her work in the New Yorker and Harpers. I also love the cover of this book, the letters that make up her dead husband's name stand out in blue from the stark black font of the rest of the letters in the author's name and title, as proper a tribute as it is creative.
I appreciate the glimpse of Didion's marriage with John Dunne, their adoption of daughter Quintana, and the awful holiday season of 2003 when her husband died while their only child was in a coma. Now I'm wanting to read more about all three of their lives.
..."given that grief remained the most general of afflictions its literature seemed remarkably spare." Even so, Didion gives an excellent overview of the literature relating to grief; encompassing the physical, emotional, psychological, rational and irrational aspects of the process. I found it fascinating that Didion praises Emily Post's 1922 etiquette guide for the best advice and information out there today.
Good writing and certainly an honest account of the author's grief over losing her husband. I just couldn't get past all the name-dropping and every other paragraph reminding me of their wealth and position in society. One message that I'm not sure was intended by all that garbage but which I received was that no matter how much money and fame you have, it doesn't protect you from grief or make those feelings any easier. And to a large extent the grieving process is universally similar for all of us. This book struck me as extremely self-indulgent and overall I didn't care for it much.