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Staff Picks - Memoirs of Love and Loss

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The Sum of Our Days (863.64 A432
by Isabel Allende
A narrative memoir of the author's life in the wake of her daughter's tragic death describes the idiosyncratic network of friends she has gathered around herself and the realizations she has formed about such topics as love, parenthood, and addiction.

Losing Mum and Pup (813.54 B924
by Christopher Buckley
This candid and intensely personal story details how the best-selling author coped with the passing of his parents, William F. Buckley, Jr., the father of the modern conservative movement, and Patricia Taylor Buckley, one of New York's most colorful socialites, between 2007 and 2008.

Brother, I’m Dying (813.54 D193)
by Edwidge Danticat
In a deeply personal memoir, the author describes her relationships with the two men closest to her-- her father and his brother, Joseph, a charismatic pastor with whom she lived after her parents emigrated from Haiti to the U.S.--in a poignant story of family, love, grief, tragedy, hope, and triumph .

Let’s Take the Long Way Home (070.92)
by Gail Caldwell
Traces the author's close friendship with the late fellow writer Caroline Knapp, describing their shared experiences with sobriety, a love of dogs, and Caroline's battle with cancer.

The Year of Magical Thinking (813.54)
by Joan Didion
An autobiographical portrait of marriage and motherhood by the acclaimed author details the critical illness of her daughter followed by the fatal coronary of her husband, and her daughter's second bout with a life-threatening ailment, and her struggle to come to terms with life and death, illness, sanity, personal upheaval, and grief.

Blue Nights (813.54 D556)
by Joan Didion
From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband and daughter, this book examines Didion’s thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old.

On Living (170.44 EGAN)
by Kerry Egan
A hospice chaplain shares the meaning the dying make of their lives, to help us understand what is ultimately important and to make the most of our own still-being-lived lives.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (973.92092 E29)
by Dave Eggers
A moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. An exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.

Narrow River, Wide Sky (978.827 FORRESTER)
by Jenny Forrester
As young adults, after their mother’s accidental death, Forrester and her brother are left with an increasingly strained relationship that becomes a microcosm of America’s political landscape.

The Longest Trip Home (070.92 G874)
by John Grogan
The author examines the events of his life and his evolving relationship with his parents, from his upbringing in a devout Catholic home, to his marriage to a Protestant woman, and finally his father's diagnosis with leukemia.

Nothing was the Samez (616.89009 J326)
by Kay R. Jamison
A psychiatrist traces her marriage to a renowned scientist who overcame severe dyslexia to become an expert on schizophrenia, describing his slow surrender to cancer and her own struggles to overcome grief and depression.

Once We Were Sisters (828.914 KOHLER)
by Sheila Kohler
After her sister's murder, the author returns to South Africa and recalls such life events as the death of her father, her idyllic early childhood, and her schooling in Paris and Rome.

The Long Goodbye (811.6 O746)
by Meghan O’Rourke
The author discusses how caring for her terminally ill mother ultimately strengthened the bond between the two, as well as fortified the author's family during the difficult time.

A Widow’s Story (813.54 O119)
by Joyce Carol Oates
The author offers an intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of forty-six years from a hospital-acquired infection and its wrenching, surprising aftermath.

Truth and Beauty (362.19699 G786)
by Ann Patchett
The author describes her 20-year friendship with Lucy Grealy, tracing their introduction at a writer's workshop, the integral part their friendship played in their writing careers, and her witness to Grealy's medical deterioration.

What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love (973.92909)
by Carole Radziwill
The author traces her life and marriage to Anthony Radziwill, President Kennedy's nephew, in an account that describes her work as a journalist, her friendship with JFK, Jr., and his wife, and her husband's struggle with terminal cancer.

On My Own (791.44 REHM)
by Diane Rehm
The beloved NPR radio host recounts her late husband's long battle with Parkinson's and her efforts to reconstruct a life without him, describing how she found inspiration in the examples of widowed colleagues and her advocacy of the Right to Die movement.

The Bright Hour (362.196 RIGGS)
by Nina Riggs
A breathtaking memoir of living meaningfully with 'death in the room' by the 38-year-old great-great-great granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson, mother to two young boys, wife of 16 years, after her terminal cancer diagnosis.

Option B (155.937 SANDBERG)
by Sheryl Sandberg
The author's experience with grief after the sudden death of her husband, combined with social science on resilience.

Ordinary Light (808.603 SMITH)
by Tracy Smith
A memoir about the author's coming of age as she grapples with her identity as an artist, her family's racial history, and her mother's death from cancer.

About Alice (814.54 T829)
by Calvin Trillin
In a memorable, often whimsical tribute to his late wife, Alice, and their relationship, the best-selling author celebrates the life of a remarkable woman who played a vital role in the author's life.

Wild and Precious Life (362.196 MAYNARD)
by Deborah Ziegler
The mother of Brittany Maynard, whose 2014 decision to die with dignity advanced debates over patient rights in end-of-life issues, describes Brittany's determination to end her life on her own terms and her legacy of hope and empowerment for others facing their own mortality.