Title: Let’s Take The Long Way Home
Author: Gail Caldwell
Publisher:Random House Trade Paperbacks
Publication Date:August 9,2011
Source:From the publisher for TLC Book Tours (My FTC Disclaimer)
Purchase:Amazon,Barnes and Noble
“It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.”
So begins this gorgeous memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell, a testament to the power of friendship, a story of how an extraordinary bond between two women can illuminate the loneliest, funniest, hardest moments in life, including the final and ultimate challenge.
They met over their dogs. Both writers, Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp, author of Drinking: A Love Story, became best friends, talking about everything from their shared history of a struggle with alcohol, to their relationships with men and colleagues, to their love of books. They walked the woods of New England and rowed on the Charles River, and the miles they logged on land and water became a measure of the interior ground they covered. From disparate backgrounds but with striking emotional similarities, these two private, fiercely self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen.
The friendship helped them define the ordinary moments of life as the ones worth cherishing. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
With her signature exquisite prose, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion and grief in this moving memoir about treasuring and losing a best friend. Let’s Take the Long Way Home is a celebration of life and of the transformations that come from intimate connection—and it affirms, once again, why Gail Caldwell is recognized as one of our bravest and most honest literary voices.
Gail Caldwell is the former chief book critic for The Boston Globe, where she was a staff writer and critic for more than twenty years. In 2001, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. She is also the author of A Strong West Wind, a memoir of her native Texas. Caldwell lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Let me take just a minute to reflect on this book. Whew. Okay. Well, this was a book that I didn’t know what to expect out of it. I don’t often review memoirs but there are times, like with this one, when one will call me by name and so I read it. And, often, I still don’t enjoy it, or I only slightly enjoyed it. But, that’s not so with this one. This one, well, it was so emotionally moving for me, that by the end, I didn’t want it to end. I wanted this memoir to continue on and on. Gail Caldwell wrote this memoir to be just that: non-fiction and a memoir. But, with her writing style, I become so involved in the lives of these two friends, that I just felt right at home.
Now, I will confess, this is not a “light” memoir. There are times when you will laugh, but the memoir itself is about a powerful bond between friends. A bond that nothing, not even death, will break. With that comes the tears, and the emotional side of the story. While these friends shared struggles, and common interests, I shared with them the emotions they felt, leaving me breathless at the end of the memoir. I had to sit and reflect for a long time after I shut the book. There is only one person in this world that I share a bond that deep with…….my mom. Her and I, well, she’s my mom but she’s the truest of friends that one can have.
I highly recommend this book with 5 stars. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll reflect. You’ll think about the one person in your life whom you call your true friend, be it a husband, a mom, a sister, a brother, or a friend. You’ll need some tissues at times, and at others you’ll need quiet so you can just get lost among the story of these two ladies. Fantastic job, Ms. Caldwell!
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