When Abigail Thomas's husband, Richard, was hit by a car, it destroyed his short-term memory and consigned him to permanent brain trauma. He had been taking their dog, Harry, out for a walk, and Harry had come home alone. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, Rich must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what ...
When Abigail Thomas's husband, Richard, was hit by a car, it destroyed his short-term memory and consigned him to permanent brain trauma. He had been taking their dog, Harry, out for a walk, and Harry had come home alone. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, Rich must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life rather than abandon her husband. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. This wise, plain-spoken, beautiful book enacts the truth Abigail discovered in the five years since the accident: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it. Forced to adapt to a life alone, Abigail finds solace at home, discovering that friends, family and dogs (Carolina, Harry and Rosie) can reshape a life of chaos into one that, while wrenchingly sad, makes sense - a life full of its own richness and beauty.
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My new favorite memoir. Stephen KIng's too, apparantly. Honest, touching, real.
Oct 25, 2009
A Must Read!
The first word that comes to my mind when I finished this book is elegant. It is very elegant and lyrical. It is written with a sense of self and with gentle humor. I love memoirs if they are well-written.
This is an accounting of a woman who comes onto the street to see her husband lying there with his head literally cracked open. Her life has changed in that instant. Thomas writes about various things relating to her relationship with her husband after numerous situations arise. She writes about grieving. She writes about her dogs and how they've helped her remain sane. She writes about moving to live closer to the long-term facility where Rich lives. She writes poignantly about life, love, grief, acceptance and joy.
This is by far the least depressing memoir I have ever read. It is beautiful, achingly so. I found this book at the library by complete accident and simply browsing. I'm happy I was at the right place at the right time. I felt privilege to read such a heartfelt, heroic, aching life of Abigail & Rich. If you like memoirs, you will love this one. Even if you're not a fan of memoirs, you will still like this one simply because of the elegant essays she has written. And you will find that you relate to them simply because you are human.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-05-15 Stephen King's front-cover endorsement of Thomas's memoir as the best he's ever readand a "punch to the heart"will surely pique interest in this wrenching, elegiac portrait of her third husband, Rich, who flounders in a miasmic present after a hit-and-run in their Manhattan neighborhood shatters his skull, destroys his short-term memory and consigns him to permanent brain trauma. A deft balance of fevered pathos and dark humor link this memoir, in spirit and theme, to Safekeeping, Thomas's collected vignettes that memorialize her second husband. But Thomas also finds wellsprings of inspiration in her tragicomic interactions with Rich and in the self-reliance she's forced to develop, aided by her faithful dogs (the book's title adapts an aboriginal phrase, derived from the tradition of cuddling with dogs on frigid nights). Richhimself reminiscent of a Stephen King eccentricutters eerily prescient, absurdly poetic non sequiturs, probing the essence of time and love with ingenuous intuition, though his acute paranoia and confusion make these exchanges truly heartbreaking. Thomas's quick-cutting chronology and confessional narration subtly re-enacts the soupiness of her husband's mind, even as she quietly thanks him for the wisdom of living in the present. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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