First off, I have so many books that I have read and not blogged on yet, it is crazy. That's a great problem to have, but I need to start writing up some drafts before I forget things. Also, I am going to try and note in parentheses in the blog title if the book is for adults. I originally meant for this to be a childrens book blog, but I read everything from picture books to grown up books constantly, so it ends up being a bit of everything.
Life's That Way by Jim Beaver is a memoir - one that I knew was going to be sad as soon as I read the jacket. Beaver and his wife Cecily discover that their toddler daughter, Maddie, is autistic. Still reeling from that news, a few weeks later Cecily is diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Only forty five, it seems incredible that this beautiful actress could have cancer. Jim starts emailing friends and family each night about the events in their life. The original list of email recipients may number in the hundreds, but over the course of a few months many thousands receive his nightly emails. Unfortunately the world of cancer hits very close to home for many. Beaver is able to write about the activities of their days, as well as the emotions he goes through as a spouse with honesty...or as much honesty as he can, as he admits. His darkest fears may never make it to the page for others' eyes. Cecily passes away just short of five months after her diagnosis, but Beaver continues to chronicle his life as a widow with a young daughter. Maddie makes dramatic improvements in her speech ability and when re-evaluated is even considered a miracle for her lack of any autistic tendencies. Beaver manages to go through time....hours pass, then days, and while he may grieve one day, may feel better the next as sadness hits him in waves. His writing and candor make the book hard to put down, and as I read in a review somewhere, his book should be given to anyone who has ever grieved. Beaver does seem to be able to capture this experience well while also admitting that each person's experience is different.
This book, while devastatingly sad, is also hopeful. I, too, agree that anyone who has grieved will get something from Beaver's story.