Title: Year of Magical Thinking, The
Authors: Didion, Joan
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 227
Year: 2006
Language: English
Description: Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall seriously ill and placed on life support. Days later, sitting down together to have dinner after visiting the hospital, John has a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, a close and symbiotic partnership of forty years was over. This is Didion's account of her grieving through the year to follow. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

This book brought up many personal thoughts and insights on grief. For some members, recent experiences of losing people close to them recently, meant that they found this book too 'raw' and painful. Others really enjoyed the frankness of the author. It certainly generated a lot of discussion. Paraparaumu 002

A mixed reaction. Although it resulted in a great discussion about marriage, illness, death, grief, loss, sanity, closeness etc, not all liked it. It is a very raw, personal account made public - almost too intimate and self indulgent! Christchurch 238

This book polarised people. They either liked it very much or didn't like it at all - we were about 50/50. We felt that Joan Didion was very intelligent, and fortunately well-supported in her grief over her husband and serious illness of her daughter. Her thoughts were relevant to people going through the grieving process, and it was helpful to her to write it all down. We hope other people going through a similar process find comfort from the book. Christchurch 318

It was a case of love it or hate it with no middle ground, which made for a far wider discussion than otherwise might have occurred, as members tried to justify their reactions to the book...Wanganui 008

We are very glad we read it, and had a very interesting discussion. The questions were the kind that got us going! Although everyone would react differently in her situation, we felt her book would help us understand how we or others might feel when going through grief or mourning. Opoti 001

Many thought the book was too deeply introspective, and that Joan Didion's experiences were extremely atypical. Others could see how unflinching and insightful her acoount of the year following John Dunne's death was for her. A no-holds-barred book. Auckland 134

Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Grief/loss, Medical/Health, Larger font


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By: CHCH 299 2020-07-09 14:32:04
Several members didn't finish the book, put off by the subject matter, while one found Didion's style of inserting quotes from other writers irritating and off-putting. Others found it a fascinating insight into the way one woman dealt with grief.

By: CHCH 319 2019-07-15 14:41:02
Most readers loved this book, although two members did not like it at all and others had a range of feelings in between - a great divider of opinion. Those who loved it loved the style of writing, but others were not so impressed and found the author irritating. Provided stimulating discussion!!

By: WELL 036 2019-07-15 14:37:44
Most people found the book very readable. Comments ranged from fascinating to self-indulgent. Not everyone finished it.

By: AUCK 216 2019-07-15 14:35:34
We all found the book difficult. Didn't 'like' Didion, and found her grieving unusual. But the book gave us much food for discussion, so it was worthwhile!

By: OPOTI 001 2019-07-15 14:30:33
We are very glad we read it. Very interesting discussion. The questions were the kind that got us going! Everyone would feel differently in her situation, but her book would help us to understand how we or others might feel when going through grief or mourning.

By: AUCK 196 2019-07-15 14:28:31
An intriguing record of the death of a loved one. Interesting observations which stimulated the writer's memories. Not a subject often tackled, so it was good for a lively discussion within our group.

By: HIKUR 001 2019-07-15 14:24:15
Compelling read. Many felt uneasy reading this at night! An intense read - almost too much at the end. All agreed it made us think about death, and the process of dying and grieving. Lots of interest in reading her other work.

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