Book Review 'The Year of Magical Thinking' by Joan Didion

Joan Didion was a Renaissance woman in the 60s and 70s, the early days of the subjective literary news penned New Journalism. In effect, this style of reporting embedded the writer, so deeply into the story that the author became part of it. Clearly documented, Ms. Didion’s literature as well as her life exhibited a level of strength few women were brave enough to display in those days. Generally speaking, her work continues to be an important contribution to the changing ideal of the modern women in the United States and Europe.

In this book Joan Didion shares an unabridged vision into the most intimate crevices of her life as she learns to grieve for her husband of fifty years, fellow author John Gregory Dunne.

Arguably, the title is a misrepresentation of the contents with its reference to “magical thinking” an implication that could elude a reader into believing Ms. Didion has discovered the answers and something wonderful in the form of a revelation takes place in the end. Nevertheless, this memoir is a comforting testament to anyone who has ever grieved the loss of someone special.

Impassioned, Ms. Didion exposes a raw vulnerability as she experiences the unusual state-of-mind characterized within the disorder of grief. John Gregory Dunne clearly filled many roles in her life. Inquisitively, Joan wades through her pain and makes the course an adventure as she processes her loss through her highly developed skills of reasoning and intellect that ultimately end up on paper.

Thank you for sharing, Joan Didion.

Review by Sammy Sutton


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