Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Memoir: Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell

Author: Gail Caldwell
Publisher Format: Random House (2010), Hardcover, 208 pages
Subject: Friendship, alcoholism, death, grieving
Setting: Cambridge Massachusettes
Genre: Memoir
Source: my own shelves

This brilliant tribute to friendship has been sitting here on my TBR shelf since the day it was published last year.  I had intended to include it in my Month of Memoirs last year, but life kept happening.  I'm so glad though that I finally got to it because it is definitely worth reading, and like the friendship it describes, cherishing.

Gail and Caroline met as they were walking their dogs.  Both writers, both women who valued their solitude, they met everyday to walk the dogs, and as the friendship grew, to teach each other the finer points of their chosen sports: swimming and rowing.

Caldwell frames this relationship with a look back at her personal struggles with alcoholism, and shows us how she was able to remain sober with the help of Caroline, who had overcome her own problem with anorexia, but who was struggling to stop smoking.

The premature end to their friendship when Caroline died of lung cancer at the age of 41 did not end the memoir.  Caldwell gives us a quiet, calm, and somber reflection on how she was able to continue life while missing her best friend.  The last part of the story is as much a story of her relationship with her dog who helped her through the grieving period.

Although many have claimed this is a tear-jerker, I found the story heart-warming, inspiring and a beautiful tribute to the true meaning of friendship.

1 comment:

  1. I remember seeing this one around, but I had forgotten what it was about. I love memoirs, so I need to try to find time for this one.


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