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The Year of Magical Thinking
The Year of Magical Thinking
Author: Joan Didion
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. This powerful and moving work is Didion's "attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had abo...  more »
ISBN-13: 9781400043149
ISBN-10: 140004314X
Publication Date: 10/4/2005
Pages: 240
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 300 ratings
Publisher: Knopf
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 3
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Patouie avatar reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 131 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 24
In the weeks and months following the death of a loved one, I experienced emotions and disorientation that seemed so foreign to me. I would walk through the grocery store -- not exactly in a daze, but it was as if the light were different, or perhaps it was the quality of the sound. I was not connected. Looking at the people around me as they hefted a melon or checked the expiration date on a gallon of Clover milk, it struck me that perhaps half the people there had experienced what I was experiencing right then, and I had never known. I'd never really even suspected.

Early on in my grieving process, an old friend got in touch and told me that after his parents had died (within two weeks of each other) it had taken him two years to fully recover. As I stumbled forward, letting bills go past due just because I couldn't face anything with a deadline, missing appointments, his few words became my lifeline, the kindest thing anyone could have said to me. Partly, I suppose, it was the promise that this, too, would pass. But mostly it was the permission to grieve. I needed permission to grieve.

Back on track now some years later, reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, I think, "She is offering not so much an explanation, but a clear description that I had not found anywhere else, and she is offering permission."
candieb avatar reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 239 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
I don't really know if I liked this book or not. Here's my problem - I liked the story and the uplifting nature of it. I liked what she had to say. I liked that she was honest about herself. I didn't like HOW she wrote. Very flowery, strewn with lines of poetry and clips from other books. But... it made me think. I've only ever lost grandparents. I've never lost a parent, a child, or a partner. What would my life be like, how would I feel, would I feel "mudgy" for that first year? What is her life like now? Did the fog lift for her? Would it lift for me. Everyone that knows me knows that I'm a very independent person. "I don't need no man". But. My husband means the world to me. I've been married to him for 14 years, we've worked together for the past 2 years. I genuinely like to be around him. As she opens her book, "Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant." How very true, and sad at the same time. I don't think about it often, but I did leave this book wondering how I would cope if something were to happen to my own husband. I don't know that I would have the ability to write about it. For that, my hat goes off to the author. She did a good job of bringing me into her world. Worth a read.
bananapancakes avatar reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
I really enjoyed this heartfelt novel about the author's coming to terms with her husband's untimely death. At first I thought she was repeating herself a bit but once you get to the end you realize she is taking you on her journey of mourning and her dealings with each stage of grief. (Wording is not quite right, but i hope you get the gist). I recommend this book definitely.
reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This is one of my books I will never swap! It is so amazing - tragically written. You actually feel her confusion during her year of grief. Didion is an amazing writer. I highly recommend this book!
love2lovebooks avatar reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 74 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
My Rating: D+

The inside flap of this book describes it as passionate. I would like to begin this review by saying that I felt, 90% of the time, very little passion. Towards the end of the book, when it seems that she's actually dealing with the subject matter, instead of just telling us stories of their previous life, yes, there is passion. In the last 20 pages the book brought me to tears multiple times. But up until then I spent most of my reading time confused, and frustrated.

She often goes back in time with out a clear transition. At least once there was a sentence in the middle of a paragraph that had nothing to do with anything in the 3 pages before and after it.

To be honest. I really only recommend the last 20 pages of this book..
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reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 100 more book reviews
Ms Didion writes "magically" about a difficult subject----the unexpected death of her husband.
reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on
fabulous read
reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 2 more book reviews
This book was hard for me to get through. Joan Didion does tell the story of her year of grieving, but it pull on any of my emotions. I found it hard to get through and not nearly as interesting and insightful as I hoped for. I read it and upon the end was happy it was over. I would not recommend this to others.
moca avatar reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on
When I read this book I actually felt how stunned she was and I am amazed that she was able to transmit to someone who has not lost a spouse or child how surreal life becomes. As each day she endured the reality of waking up without that person ever again.
reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on
Invaluable resource for anyone who has recently lost a loved one.
Great book. Highly recommended.
reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on
Joan Didion is truly a magical writer that takes you on a journey in her use of language. For me, as a new widow, I can truly identify with some of the things that Joan describes in her book, her longing to see her husband again, her rationalization of her own self-pity, living over events that have happened in the past, she truly describes her grief in a palpable way. The book was hard to put down. She makes the written language an art.
zreader avatar reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 51 more book reviews
Interesting, sad, thoughtful take on what it is like to lose your partner and the process of grieving.
reviewed The Year of Magical Thinking on + 11 more book reviews
Ms. Didion chronicles her emotions in the year following her husband's unexpected death.

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