on 22 April 2014
I have to confess a connection to the author as she is my sister, so I have been there, living through the experience with her. But familial links aside, I believe Maddy is a truly brilliant writer and you would never guess this to be only her first book: it is written with such fluidity, clarity, honesty and understanding of the human condition. Her style is completely accessible, even when plumbing the depths of emotional pain, and she retains a light touch and sense of humour throughout. It's very readable - in fact hard to put down. I believe this book will give joy and be of great support to others trying to navigate through grief and loss, to those endeavouring to raise a child single handedly, to friends and fans of the deeply missed poet Michael Donaghy, and anyone with a poetic heart or who has been in love. I laughed and cried equally.
on 20 November 2014
"I wondered how I would possibly be able to leave, to take the last sight of this man I had loved for twenty-one years, who had been my soul-mate, best friend, co-parent, latterly husband, and also my burden." This is Maddy Paxman in the immediate aftermath of the sudden death from a brain haemorrhage of her husband the poet Michael Donaghy. Her remarkable and brave book tells the story of their relationship and of how Maddy tried to come to terms with his death. The author is at times almost brutally candid in her depiction of the ups and downs of their life together and of the flaws in herself and in this gifted man and poet. I was absorbed by the book from its beginning to its end of the book and could identify with much of what Maddy writes on the emotional turmoil of grief.
on 16 December 2014
I bought this book on the advice of my husband, the poet Simon R. Gladdish, and I'm very glad I did. It is a thoughtful, moving, meditative and, at times, brutally honest account of her life with her poet husband: 'When I met Michael, aged twenty-nine, he was still on the slow climb back to stability - a fragile creature with scarred wrists, tormented by nightmares and sustained by music and poetry and drinking.' I think that this memoir is destined to become a classic.
on 14 August 2014
This is a wonderful book... It is beautifully written and emotionally intelligent. I haven't lost a husband but have experienced loss, and navigated back from darkness..I think his book will truly help anyone going through a similar experience.. I couldn't put it down, and looked forward to reading it as I felt it explored the depths of the human soul.
on 19 June 2014
There is a literature of grief. This book should become a classic. It is eminently readable, engaging, touching and truthful. The author lost her husband, Michael Donaghy, a well-known poet, quite suddenly, from a cerebral bleed when he was just 50. They had a young son. It's a closely observed account of their relationship (warts and all), their family life as two artists in London, his shocking death and the long slog back from sudden bereavement. Might sound a downer but it is not. The tremendous humanity and integrity of the author lift this book to a different level. Although I haven't lost husband, I still found this a compelling read on par with Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. Highly recommended.