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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken starts off on a rough premise--she makes clear that this book is about the death of a baby. It is, however, a lovely and incredible story.

McCracken's first child is a stillborn. This gives nothing away, as this is the backbone of the story. She tells her tale from a year's distance as she holds her second baby, alive and healthy, on her lap. It's a story of excitement and anticipation; a story of loneliness in the French countryside and the navigation of a foreign language; a story of love between two people that is upheld in the wake of tragedy. McCracken makes it clear that this is not a treatise on what might have been; rather, it is an exploration of a heartbreak that can only serve to help herself and others.

This one of those books that, after reading the first ten pages, I realize I had read before. It's hard to miss, but it's so lovely and meaningful. McCracken is a gorgeous writer, and I felt that I was listening to beautiful music while she spun her tale for me.

Of course her story is heartbreaking. Losing a child is something I cannot even begin to imagine. McCracken is so eloquent and open about her story, and she bares her soul for her readers. The result is an extended meditation on learning to live with pain and grief while not allowing it to overtake your life. After closing this book I felt that I knew McCracken, that she was indeed a friend of mine, and I left fulfilled.

I also took away from this book an understanding of how to reach out to those who go through such a loss, be it a miscarriage or a stillborn. I am grateful to McCracken for opening up her vault to share with me her story.

Get the book for yourself! Kindle version on the left, hard copy on the right.

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