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on 14 October 2008
Dr Dannie Abse has written a moving tribute to his departed beloved partner after 50 years. As a retired psychiatrist I found his self-assessment of his bereaved state deeply touching, particularly because I and my wife have been together nigh on sixty years in a loving companionship too. A reason for reading this book was my anticipation how I might cope if my wife predeceases me and I am left, like Dr Abse, musing over wonderful memories. I liked the way he juxtaposed the present with the past in his diary, and the appropriate, often amusing, anecdotes interspersed throughout. My belated sincere condolences and my hope that his loss has been alleviated by writing and sharing with others. PS: I must sadly confess to being a poetry-philistine, but I'm sure the "poetry-enamoured" will appreciate Dr Abse's poems.
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on 2 July 2009
This moving journal charts Abse's reactions during the year after he lost his wife, Joan, in a traffic accident. Having lost my daughter in a traffic accident nearly a year ago I found it comforting to read his words - it made me realise that the range of feelings I have are not unique: that I am not mad ... but that the grief one feels when an innocent loved one is killed in this way is complex and long-lasting. He is an eloquent guide to this difficult territory ... at times, so 'eloquent' that I found myself having to consult the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in order to understand some of his words - and this, despite having a master's degree in English! However, maybe such a difficult journey needs difficult language to try to explain things at times.

The journal also includes various poems - both by Abse and other writers -that shed light on his feelings.

This is a moving book - but it is not unremittingly bleak: at times it will make the reader laugh as well as cry. Whilst I obviously found it struck a special chord for me, I don't feel that you have to be grief-stricken in order to appreciate Abse's evocation of his wife's presence and the charting of his journey through the year following her death ... indeed, it would be foolish to make such an assumption, just as it would to make the assumption that a reader has to be old and have ungrateful children in order to appreciate 'King Lear'!

Abse is famous as a poet, but he is a fine writer of prose too, as this journal attests. I recommend the book - buy it - you won't be disappointed.
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Dannie Abse lost his beloved wife Joan in a car accident in which he survived. Here he charts his progress in a kind of diary/memoir of the year after her death.

It is gentle, emotional without being sentimental and full of wonderful poems (not just his own) and quotations from which he has found strength or the perfect way to express his feelings.

This is not just a book about grief, it is a book which celebrates and reveres a deep and lasting love for another human being, one which shaped his life and understanding. His attempts to navigate life without that presence is truly touching.
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on 10 November 2009
Although this is a book about pain and loss, it is somehow consoling and a book I return to. It contains life at its best and at its worst, funny and tragic. His marriage is something to envy. Buy it.
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on 21 March 2013
This book, written as a diary, covers all aspects of grief experienced when you lose someone close. I did find some of the poetry a little heavy going at times but this was my personal view and did not detract from the essence of the book. I also found the reverting back in time added to the diary experience.
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on 16 July 2009
This book would provide thought provoking and comfort councelling for anyone who has lost a loved one
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on 19 February 2013
moving story, which I bought to help with my bereavement . Makes you realise that your loss is happening to other people too
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on 1 September 2013
I love the book - hence buying it to pass on to a very dear friend. ~The condition is no worse than
should be expected for a well-read book of this age;
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on 10 June 2015
Never read any of Dannie Abse's books but reviews after his death led me to want to do so! A very interesting book with lots of references to areas of Cardiff that are familiar to me.
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on 6 February 2015
Great book, well recommended. Tugs the heart strings though, so only read in the right mood :)
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