Reading has been, well, a little trying for me. Why? Well, because FBC insists that I read and reread sentences over and over again, which makes finishing entire books a much more timely endeavor than it used to be. FFS (For F**k’s Sake).
That said, I managed to finish a wonderful memoir of friendship: Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell.
Some people may think that this is a book about the feelings of loss associated with death. Not to me. I believe that this is a book first and foremost about the capacity of friendship.
I found it to be a beautiful, poignant memoir that is a testament of what we can mean to each other.
Caroline Knapp and Gail Caldwell bonded in 1996 over a shared love of dogs and writing. The dog trainer who set up Knapp and Caldwell (as if on a blind date!) knew what she was doing because the women became instant, best friends.
Speaking of setups, I have a great friend who excels at introducing people who usually become great friends. He is so good at making fun, legitimate, meaningful connections. “You need to know so-and-so. You will love each other.” He’s ALWAYS been right on! Introducing friends can be an incredible Silver Lining (SL) to our lives and to the lives of others.
Anyway, back to the story. The two writers — Knapp is the author of the great memoir “Drinking: A Love Story,” Caldwell was the Pulitzer Prize winning book critic for the Boston Globe — had much in common and quickly formed a tight pack with Lucille the shepherd mix and Clementine the Samoyed that lasted until Knapp’s death from lung cancer six years later. That’s the sad part of the book.
However, focusing not on the tragic death, but on the SL, this book is much more about the depth and devotion of adult female friendships than about dying and death. Caldwell describes their relationship as “the lattice that made room for the rose.” Isn’t that beautiful? I hope that you all have a lattice-friend.
This book had several parts that resonated with me and my FBC (NOT the death part, by the way!). For example, Caldwell describes being in a crisis producing car crash, during which time “the world appears with ferocious technicolor” and, feeling indignation, she questions, “How dare you? I’m in the middle of a life here.” Both reflections are exactly how I’ve felt. Absolutely. Technicolor and WTF? Right on.
Caldwell uses a beautiful quote by John Keats to describe her relationship with Knapp:
I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the Imagination.
I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to read this book (grateful also for the fact that I actually read a book cover-to-cover!). Take the Long Way Home is inspirational and joyous (SL). Reading it has helped me live even more fully in the present, with gratitude for all of my wonderful and dear friends (SL).
Wishing you all a lot of Silver-Lined Lattice in your life.