Joan Didion’s husband John died suddenly of heart failure in 2003, and her daughter died slowly of pneumonia as she was writing this book. It’s a heartbreaking account of a fearsomely sharp and self-aware woman falling apart and putting herself back together—certainly one of the best-written books of the decade. But I can’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone. Especially if you like to forget, or postpone, knowing that everybody you love is going to die.
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