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review 2018-12-29 19:46
The light in the darkness
The Bright Hour - Nina Riggs Jones

Well, here I am talking about cancer and dying again. I swear it's the last of these for a good long while, guys. (I hope I don't end up eating my words.) The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs was recommended to me after reading When Breath Becomes Air because Nina's widowed husband is now dating the widow of Paul Kalinithi who wrote the aforementioned. O_O  At the start of her story, Nina was 38 years old and her biggest problems centered around publishing her newest bit of writing and mothering her two young sons with her husband...and then Cancer rapidly derailed her life. When Nina was initially diagnosed with breast cancer her mother was fighting her own battle with an aggressive myeloma. At first, Nina's diagnosis seemed quite straightforward in comparison. Her doctor felt it was quite treatable with a mastectomy and chemo but right as her life seemed to stabilize a stabbing back pain (reminiscent of Paul Kalinithi) made itself known. This turned out to be the harbinger of Stage 4 cancer which unfortunately was not curable. To add insult to injury, her mother's cancer stopped responding to treatment and she opted to stop her treatment. Overwhelming and almost unbelievably melodramatic as this all sounds Nina chose to view each day through a positive lens. It is obvious to me that she was a special person with a whole lot of spirit. Sadly, she passed away before final publication of her book but her legacy still lives and breathes on each page of her memoir. I'm sorry we can't enjoy more writing from her in the future.  9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Science of Supervillains by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-07-12 19:32
Living and Dying
The Bright Hour - Nina Riggs Jones
When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi,Abraham Verghese
The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
Blue Nights by Didion, Joan 1st (first) Edition [Hardcover(2011)] - Joan Didion
A Widow's Story - Joyce Carol Oates
Missing Mom - Joyce Carol Oates
About Alice - Calvin Trillin
How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter - Sherwin B. Nuland

So, I've been off BL for a long, long time. A lot has happened, I got pregnant and had a daughter. My mom got sick and passed away. I had to clear out and sell my childhood home and all the contents while trying to balance all of that and my full time job. It's been...something.

 

For a while, not long after my mom died (3 days before Christmas 2016 when my daughter was only 5 months old) I started searching out and reading books that dealt with death and grief. I read a lot of Joan Didion The Year of Magical ThinkingBlue Nights. I read When Breath Becomes Air and About Alice and A Widow's Story. I started Missing Mom and couldn't go any further because it was too hard and How We Die.

 

The Bright Hour is one of the most beautiful books I've read, ever. I can't possibly describe it except to use it's full title--The Bright Hour: a memoir of living and dying. It is so full of life, all the messiness and happiness and tragedy and humor and it faces death and mortality head on, unflinching. 

 

I recently reread it, now a year and a half since my mother passed, it still has such power and peace. I can't recommend it enough.

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