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Reader reviews and comments on The Year of Magical Thinking, plus links to write your own review.

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The Year of Magical Thinking

by Joan Didion

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion X
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2007, 214 pages

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There are currently 13 reader reviews for The Year of Magical Thinking
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Pega Sprey

It helped our family
This book was very helpful to my Mother after my Father, her husband of 63 years, passed away, and to both of us when my brother died 11 months later - especially the concept that grief makes you a little crazy. Those reviewers who read it after the loss of a parent probably didn't understand because it is expected and one doesn't experience the feeling of having been 'robbed' of many more decades of shared experiences. Whereas a remaining spouse who has to face that empty bed/house/dining chair will really find solace in Didion's experience.
Donald G. Mashburn

Year of Magical Thinking - not magical but well done.
I read Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking" shortly after the death of my beloved wife of more than 61 years. Didion's emotional and deftly-written story of her grief following her husband's sudden death from a heart attack makes the book a worthwhile read for anyone that has lost a spouse. But Didion also weaves into the story of her personal grief the account of her daughter's critical health problems that she and her husband faced before he died, and which she faced alone after his death. Her daughter's prolonged illness, and near-death, could have have been a distraction in the account of Didion's grief. But her daughter's health battle started before her husband's death, and Didion has woven that battle, and its ups and downs, and her own story of the love she shared with her husband into a story of loss, grief, struggle and love.

Some readers may be critical of Didion's personal accounts involving well-known events and people, but others will find that they make the story more interesting. Some may object to the inclusion of events that are not directly related to grieving. But, logically, they should be included if they triggered her fears and memories following her husband's death. Moreover, the author's story is about that year following her husband's untimely death. And, here, the author succeeds with a sure-footed, well-written story that, in itself, may not be magical but is emotional, poignant, and tender.
Marjorie

"The Year of Magical Thinking"
I just finished this book and found it nothing special. I haven't lost a husband but have lost parents and understand the feeling of grief. But Joan Didion didn't say anything new and different here Instead she just dropped names of people and places as she was reliving the death and the year following it. Why should I care that she dined at Morton's? Couldn't she just have written that she dined at a nice restaurant?
This book reads as a journal or diary, valuable to the writer but not to a casual reader. There must be others who have written about the same subject. I agree with the critic who said Didion got by on her name and probably a lot of sympathy about what she went through.
L

the year of magical thinking by joan didion
Honestly, I don't understand how this book is earning so much praise. I hated this book, it reads like a poorly written journal that should have never made it to print, and the random snip-its of info on grief and tragedy seem more like a sad attempt at a scrape booking venture than a serious novel. Simply terrible.
Janis Gale

The absence of Magic
Didion read Caitlin Thomas's book "Leftover life to kill" at the age of twenty two and found it whining and self pitying. I had a similar reaction to Didion's book, I am fifty seven.

Didion has a beautiful way with words. The positive reviews of this book must then be a result of her reputation, rather than of this particular work. I found the absence of humour, the repetition and attention to tiny details self indulgent and cloying.

Grief doesn't discriminate and we have empathy, but even when personal experiences are penned in prose, the reading is still extremely heavy going.
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