Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Three Dog Life

One of the many wonderful things about working in a library is being exposed to lots and lots of books I wouldn't otherwise know about. I found my new favorite memoir that way, when I was sending A Three Dog Life out for a patron and saw

"The best memoir I have ever read. This book is a punch to the heart. Read it." ~Stephen King

on the cover. It should be no surprise that upon reading these magic words "memoir," "heart," and "punch" I immediately placed a hold on it. When the book was finally ready for me I had forgotten or perhaps never really understood that the book is about the author's husband's traumatic brain injury - something I can intimately relate to. And yes, of course I loved this book, especially passages like this that speak to the mysterious poetry and heartbreak of life, love, and loss:

Last week, as he struggled to make sense of the world, unable to find words, my youngest daughter, Catherine, came to visit. "Do you know who I am?" she asked, and he peered at her intently. "Do you eat field mice?" he asked, a strange question we thought, until I realized that the first three letters of her name spell "cat." Perhaps this was a glimpse of how the mind pieces things together after an assault, trying to rewire itself. "The goat's mouth is full of stones," he said one day, and I leave that as it is, a mystery. During the days when it is impossible to communicate in words, I get into his bed and we hold hands. Nap therapy. This is a familiar posture, something we can do without speech, without thinking.