Explore grief. Joan Didion introduces you to her world as her husband dies and her only daughter goes though intense medical crises. One of the best books I’ve ever read because Didion is plain-spoken and sharp-edged. She is brilliant at looping ideas to reflect the ruminations of grief/depression—not to mention it’s also a cool writing strategy.


I read this for a class few years ago. Here was one of the notes I had about it (for what it’s worth): It’s strange that it’s the Autopsy chapter (18) that seems to be the turning point, the point where we know she’s made it out of the grief.  Not that it’s gone away, but that she’s survived it.  The autopsy seemed to tie things up for Didion. She’d been working hard to lift herself from the abyss for a year.  She’d been coping with Quintana’s illnesses and her own grief for a long time. She’d processed a lot in a year, even if she felt she had not.  The autopsy gave her proof that her thinking was magical, that her blame was fanciful even, that the John’s death was then, and this was now.