I’ve just finished reading the final page of Paula.
And I’m not ready to put it down…
I’ve closed the book and yet part of me is still lingering between the pages, unwilling to give up the connection I have with the fascinating, heart-wrenching and inspiring world created by Isabel Allende.
So I’ve just been sitting here in silence, thumbing through the pages and reading certain passages I’d underlined for their rich description or flowing transition. In the process I stumble on a brief interview with Allende in back of the book in which she answers questions on the topic of personal tragedy and writing. And she shares her memory of the year following Paula’s death. Which of course is something every reader who has finished this book wants to know. Every parent who has birthed a child or committed their lives to the well being of their children wants to know.
How did you do it Isabel?
How did you transform your grief into a memoir so riveting that I feel pangs of sadness now that it’s over.
Here is the story.
What would you do if your only daughter suddenly fell into a coma from a mysterious, rare and relatively unknown condition?
One minute you have a gifted, beautiful, intelligent adult daughter, an exuberant newlywed with her entire life in full view. And the next minute you are sitting at her hospital bed weathering a steady stream of despairing prognosis from the medical world. While your daughter lies there with open eyes, unable to recognize or communicate with anyone.
How would you stay sane, keep your hope intact?
This is what Isabel Allende did. During the months when her daughter’s illness became the center of her existence Allende wrote this singular sentence.
And this became the first line of her book.
Yet the story that unfolds is not one of sickness or of a mother’s depression; it is interestingly, a passionate story about living. It is story that includes gripping political upheaval in a foreign land, sensuous love affairs and wondrous family history. It is story about ordinary moments and breath-taking tragedy told from the eyes of a robust woman, a loving mother …
and a gifted writer who transported me into another world
and touched me with her words.
This is why I read books.
how about you?
Tell me what you’re reading this summer. I’d love to hear.
I’m linking this post up here.