This New York Times best-selling author gives a witty, honest, hopeful memoir on matters of the heart. From the loss of her husband to changes in her relationship with her best friend to her daughter’s illness and the death of her beloved dog, Thomas covers it all.
The book begins with her platonic relationship with her friend Chuck— how they met, how their friendship felt to them but looked to others, how they complimented each other. She explains that he urged her to write their story, and she struggled with figuring out which format would best exemplify their relationship. The story, as it moves forward, then morphs into a story of her life as it evolves through age. What doesn’t change, though, is how Chuck presence, whether physically present or not, is always in her peripheral.
The unconventional structure of this memoir, a couple of lines, a paragraph or a few pages at a time, each titled with a specific event or thought, mirrors the occurrences of life. The reader is guided through life’s happenings to thoughts on painting and what “time” actually means to an aging woman. Though unconventional, this process feels organic and fresh. Thomas strings together tiny snippets of life that might be insignificant standing alone, but placed side by side, they make up the essence of a well-lived life. Her recollections are so normal, so everyday, and yet I could not tear my eyes from the pages. It’s the reality, the fact that she writes on topics so close to home that give me the compulsion to keep reading, as though I’m coming to an understanding of the human experience through her.
Within these recorded memories of her life, she sprinkles in musings on painting, which creates a brilliant metaphor for life— how it is oftentimes unpredictable. That we must embrace it and let it guide us rather than setting expectations on the outcome. Real life is often much more entertaining than fiction, and this memoir fits that mold. Thomas writes with a sense of wit and reflection that rings true. One cannot help but chuckle at her musings as he or she has certainly felt the same. As the reader, I found myself doing just that. The emotions were real, relateable. The thoughts were completely human, flawed, but perfectly suited for each situation the presented itself. Thomas pulled me through the full spectrum of emotion— empathy, surprise, anger, fear, contentment. Recommended (highly).