Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Review: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Our book club pick for this month was a memoir by Elizabeth McCracken, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. We have our monthly get together tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to finding out if everyone liked this book as much as I did. I hope so. First, an excerpt from the critics:

From Bookmarks Magazine
In Elizabeth McCracken’s heartrending memoir—a love letter to the child she lost and the devoted husband who suffered alongside her—McCracken displays her many talents. Her warmth, candor, crystalline prose, lovely imagery, and attention to detail bring her painful story to life. McCracken’s dark sense of humor ensnares unwitting readers, belying the sadness with which she writes, and she shows very little patience for self-pity and sentimentality. Critics praised her clear-eyed account in a genre replete with syrupy, self-aggrandizing books, though some expressed doubts that its subject matter would have wide appeal. “I’m not ready for my first child to fade into history,” explains McCracken. With this heartbreaking account of his life, there’s little chance of that.

My opinion
Before starting this book, I couldn't decide if reading a memoir about a still born birth before I myself (hopefully) go through child birth was a good idea. Let me tell you that for this girl...it definitely was. One can never constantly avoid everything scary and unknown and reading about another woman's--another family's--tragic experience made me extremely grateful for all the blessings I currently have in my life, while at the same time giving me a glimpse into how people handle grief, which really just showed me there is no "right way." This is a book about grief, hauntingly so. McCracken recalls the kindness of friends and some of their insincerity too. It's a book about marriage and how love between a husband and wife can survive amidst such tragedy. And ultimately, it's about joy. It's hard to describe all the feelings and thoughts she shares: hope and despair, excitement and trepidation, guilt and forgiveness, anger, incomprehension, little bits of humor. McCracken seems extremely wise and I'm so glad I had the chance to read this book. Before I finished the last page, I was expecting to feel nothing but sadness, but when I actually finished I felt a mixture of emotions. All I can say is I was deeply moved.



Books from my LibraryThing

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