The Year of Magical Thinking

by Joan Didion · read September 15, 2022


This book is Didion's account of the year following her husband's sudden death, during which her daughter fell seriously ill. On one hand, the book is an honest confrontation with grief and loss, and Didion openly shares on a subject that most people shy away from. On the other hand, the book is intensely personal, and therefore kind of dull to read through — it contains many references to places I've never been, works I've never read, people I've never met, and medical terminology I've never learned.

So while I didn't enjoy reading the book, I think that in some way it's a reminder of what makes loss so challenging — that it's always particular and personal, and therefore never really understandable by anyone else.

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.

Julia Cooke © 2023