The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion

The Year of Magical Thinking was the second book I read by Joan Didion after Blue Nights. Some time ago I watched the documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, and I once again admired Didion. If you don’t know who she is, you are missing a lot.


The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion

Didion wrote The Year of Magical Thinking after losing her husband of forty years. Reading it will break your heart and will most probably scare you a little bit. If you have a partner that you care about in your life and you have been together for a long time, you will struggle while reading this. However, it is worth every second.

I read the book in the silence of the night after everyone went to sleep. Sometimes I looked at my husband lying next to me, and I found myself praying, sometimes I cried, and most of the time, I left the book and thought about life. After trying to play my mind to get away from the idea of losing loved ones, I wondered what a great writer Didion was. Read Didion. You will never regret it.

About the book: The Year of Magical Thinking

From one of America’s iconic writers, a portrait of a marriage and a life – in good times and bad – that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child. A stunning book of electric honesty and passion.

Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill. At first they thought it was flu, then pneumonia, then complete sceptic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later – the night before New Year’s Eve -the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of 40 years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LA airport, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Centre to relieve a massive hematoma.

This powerful book is Didion’s `attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness … about marriage and children and memory … about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself’. The result is an exploration of an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage, and a life, in good times and bad.


About the author: Joan Didion

Joan Didion is an American journalist and writer of novels, screenplays, and autobiographical works. Didion is best known for her literary journalism and memoirs.

The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

A Non-Fiction a Month

Reading Challenge 2019 – The Year of Women Writers

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