Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

Joan Didion, author of the bestselling memoir The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) which is about her marriage to author John Gregory Dunne (1932-2003), has written Blue Nights (2011), a haunting account of the illness and death of her adopted daughter Quintana Roo Dunne Michael (1966-2005). In 2003, Quintana was hospitalized with pneumonia which developed into septic shock, rendering her unconscious when her father died of cardiac arrest in the couple's New York apartment. She was hospitalized again in 2004 due to bleeding in the brain. Barely able to grieve for her husband, Joan became Quintana's caregiver until she passed away in 2005. The reader learns of the adoption and the doubts and fears Didion and Dunne faced, as well as, bits and pieces of Quintana's childhood, her wedding, her illness, and ultimately her death. Didion also discusses her health problems, getting old, and her intense feelings of guilt for being unable to save the lives of those she loved most because she felt she should have seen the signs that might have saved them. "How could I have missed what was clearly there to be seen?"

An honest, humble memoir of love and grief.

No comments: