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The Long Goodbye: A Memoir Paperback – April 3, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this eloquent, somber memoir about the death of her mother and grieving aftermath, poet and journalist O'Rourke (Halflife) ponders the eternal human question: how do we live with the knowledge that we will one day die? O'Rourke's mother died of metastatic colorectal cancer on Christmas day 2008; the headmaster of a Westport, Conn., private school, she was only 55 years old, and left a stricken husband, two sons, and daughter O'Rourke, the eldest sibling. O'Rourke had shuttled back and forth from her life in Brooklyn and then job at Slate over the preceding year to care for her increasingly debilitated mother. The two were extremely close, and the shock of her mother's illness devastated the whole family (the author married her longtime boyfriend shortly after the Stage 4 diagnosis, then separated just as quickly). Over the last months, O'Rourke was bracing herself, "preparing" for her mother's death, by reading everything she could during the dizzying rounds of doctors' and hospital visits, until the family could take their mother home to die in a heavily medicated peace. Anxious by nature, secretive, often emotionally brittle, O'Rourke grew acutely sensitive to her mother's changing states over the last months, desperate for a sign of her mother's love to carry her through the months of bereavement. O'Rourke heals herself in this pensive, cerebral work, moving from intense anguish and nostalgia to finding solace in dreams, sex, and the comforting words of other authors. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Piercingly candid." --Vogue
"An intelligent, heart-laden narrative... O'Rourke has written a beautiful elegy. She celebrates her mother and movingly meditates on the knotty mystery of grief." --The Boston Globe
"[The Long Goodbye] evokes the universalities of love and pain. We feel our own grief, past and potential, as O'Rourke grapples with hers... [She] capitalizes on her background as a poet, sprinkling her prose with imagery and metaphor." --The Washington Post
"A tour de force et tristesse... [O'Rourke's] mother emerges less as a rough sketch and more as a completed portrait, a lively and memorable person." --Lorrie Moore, The New York Review of Books
"Penetrating... There is a bracing frankness to O'Rourke's reminiscences... The weightiness of O'Rourke's subject matter is leavened by her insight and wry humor. An elegant and erudite treatment of grief, O'Rourke reaches out to the beraeved and unbereaved alike." --San Francisco Chronicle
"An achingly moving memoir... Barbara Kelly O'Rourke used to bid her daughter good night with the line, 'I love you to deaht.' With this unusually intelligent and emotional book, her daughter makes clear that we can, in fact, love beyond it." --O, The Oprah Magazine
"[The Long Goodbye is] a secular ceremony, one that memorializes the mother's best aspects, her daughter's effort to be present throughout her decline, and the terrible ,common burden of being the person who continues to live." --Los Angeles Times
"With her ear for double entendres and eye for aesthetic lapses, O'Rourke is able to narrate her months of mourning with wry wit and charming perception... It shows not only how to heal but also how to help." --NPR.org
"A beautiful memoir about a daughter's love for her mother." --The Paris Review
"Meghan O'Rourke, a celebrated poet and critic, writes prose as if she was born to it first. Her memoir The Long Goodbye is emotionally acute, strikingly empathetic, thorough and unstinting intellectually, and of course elegantly wrought. But it's above all a useful book, for life-the good bits and the sad ones, too."
"Meghan O'Rourke has written a beautiful memoir about her loss of a truly irreplaceable mother-yes, it is sad, it is in fact heartrending, but it is many things more: courageous, inspiring, wonderfully intelligent and informed, and an intimate portrait of an American family as well."
-Joyce Carol Oates
"Meghan O'Rourke is an extraordinary writer, and she offers precious gifts to readers in this powerful memoir. There is the gift of entering her family, with its vibrant characters and culture. There is the gift of her profound insights into the experience of grief, its grip and the diverse ways we struggle to reenter a world where joy is felt. But most of all, there is her gift of showing us how love prevails after even the most devastating loss."
-Jerome Groopman, M.D., Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, and author of The Anatomy of Hope and How Doctors Think
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The book provided a survivor's dialog to explain the loss of confidence I was experiencing and allowed me to look at my losses as survivable.
If you have lost your mom, you need to read this book!!
Thanks Meghan for putting it all down in writing.
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What I value about this book is how often I say, "I know what she...Read more