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Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell Review

Title: Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship

Author: Gail Caldwell

First published January 1, 2010

190 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9781400067381 (ISBN10: 1400067383)

Rating: 3.95


In Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, Gail Caldwell tells the story of her unforgettable bond with Caroline Knapp, author of Drinking: A Love Story. Their friendship began over their love for their dogs and blossomed into a deep connection that saw them share everything from their struggles with alcohol to their love of literature.

From hiking in the New England woods to rowing on the Charles River, they measured the ground they covered, both on land and water, but more importantly, the emotional ground they traversed. Two fiercely independent women from different backgrounds, their friendship helped them to find joy in the everyday moments of life.

But when Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Caldwell was forced to confront the ultimate challenge of losing her best friend. Written with Caldwell’s signature exquisite prose, Let’s Take the Long Way Home is a moving tribute to the power of friendship, the transformative effects of connection, and the courage it takes to face grief head-on.

It cements Caldwell’s position as one of the bravest and most honest literary voices of our time.

About the Author

Gail Caldwell spent over two decades as a staff writer and critic at The Boston Globe, serving as the chief book critic. Her insightful critiques earned her the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2001.

Beyond her journalistic achievements, Caldwell is also an author in her own right. She penned a memoir entitled A Strong West Wind, which explores her upbringing in Texas.

These days, Caldwell calls Cambridge, Massachusetts home.

Editoral Review

Gail Caldwell’s Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship is an emotional journey that delves into the depths of friendship, love, and loss. The book was first published in January 2010 and is a highly acclaimed memoir that explores the experiences of the author and her friendship with fellow writer Caroline Knapp.

Caldwell was a highly prolific journalist and book critic at The Boston Globe and Knapp is a renowned writer famous for her memoir “Drinking: A Love Story.” The book is a masterpiece of memoir writing and is a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the intricacies of human relationships. The narrative of the book is a poignant and tender tribute to Knapp, who passed away from lung cancer in 2002.

Caldwell takes us on a journey starting from the moment she first met Knapp, to their years-long friendship and the eventual passing of her beloved friend. The memoir is a fusion of two women’s lives, their bond as writers and friends, their shared love of their dogs and their intimate understanding of each other’s worlds.

It is a moving and insightful portrayal of the human condition that is both relatable and inspiring. What makes this book so magnificent is Caldwell’s ability to vividly capture the power of friendship and the depth of its complexities.

The themes of love, loss, and grief are conveyed in a manner that genuinely resonates with the reader. The use of language and imagery is masterful, drawing the reader into the story in a way that feels personal and intimate.

Caldwell explores the universal themes of loneliness and the unspoken bond of friendship, offering the reader a genuine emotional experience that is both uplifting and heart-wrenching. The story is told in a non-linear way, with Caldwell seamlessly blending past and present to create an incredibly evocative narrative.

One can’t help but feel a sense of poignancy when reading this book, and the overwhelming sense of loss experienced by Caldwell is palpable. This is a book that forces the reader to confront their own mortality and the importance of the relationships that we make in our lives.

One slight critique of the book is that it may be challenging to follow for readers who are not familiar with the Boston area or the literature of the time, which may distract from the overall emotional impact of the memoir. However, the powerful message of the book and the skillful writing more than make up for this minor limitation.

Overall, the memoir is a testament to the power of friendship and the beauty of the human condition. It is a book that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it and is a must-read for anyone looking for an emotional journey that is both inspiring and enlightening.

The readers of memoirs or those interested in the human condition must read this book. Based on the overall impression, the book is rated 4/5, but the evaluation is based on the criteria of the quality of writing, character development, pacing, plot structure, and themes that are critically analyzed in the review.