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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things by Amy Dickinson

What a lovely memoir – and very different than I anticipated… It started as I thought it would:“Ask Amy” comes home to her small hometown after years living in various large cities. It’s a type of memoir I particularly relate to, since I have traveled a similar path. Unlike Amy, I did not have a child before I came back home (and I was a bit younger); like her, I found myself falling in love with someone from “home” and finding myself with an insta-family as a result. I really enjoyed sharing her struggles to find her way – and her place – in her old world made new. I’ve lived much of what she describes, and it was both comforting and informative to see it from the outside, particularly in the hands of someone gifted with the ability to write about herself without falling into the trap of self-absorption (or self-pity). The book was fun and funny and full of foibles – exactly like real life.

Then the sad bits hit.

I anticipated that there would be some tragedy befalling her – the subtitle does, after all, include the word “loss” fairly prominently. What I didn’t see coming was the depth of feeling and loss that would encompass much of the book – and that would trigger so many scary grief feelings in me as well… I have been very fortunate – I am in my 40s, both parents are still not only alive but most definitely kicking. Loss through death has been kept to a minimum in my life, and I worry about how I will handle it when the inevitable inevitably hits. I hope I can manage it with even a fraction of the aplomb Amy did.

This moving tale of her journey into and out of the hell of grief due to a major loss read with an easy grace that made me cry with and for her while also allowing me to benefit from her experiences right along side of her. It’s a lovely, heart breaking, funny, goofy tale of family, individuality, and the importance of balancing the two. I am definitely looking her first book up now, and hope to see more from this delightful author.

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