I just finished Gail Caldwell’s memoir Let’s Take the Long Way Home(Random House, 2010). It is a book about two friends, and one of the friends dies, and it is sad. I didn’t spoil anything, the death is mentioned on the first page.
Both women are writers. Both women are addicted to alcohol but are sober. Both are obsessed with their dogs. Both are introverts. The one who died, Caroline Knapp, is the author of a memoir titled, Drinking: A Love Story. Now I suppose I have to go read that one as well! I’m always intrigued by stories of people who manage to triumph over addiction.
Above all, Let’s Take the Long Way Home is about female friendship. It’s about finding a friend you have everything in common with. And it’s also about unexpectedly losing her.
I read the book in less than 24 hours. It made me miss the intimacy of close female friendships. The kind where you call each other every day and know everything about each other. At this stage in my life I don’t have time for it. I love my friends but there’s not one of them I have the energy to talk to every day, nor them me. E-mail helps.
But I miss it. I didn’t realize how special it was when I had it. When I was single and unencumbered by the dude or the cute people.
This book reminded me how precious friendships are. And how precarious life is.
And yes, how totally healing it is to have a dog. I knew that, but it was nice to be reminded.
I can’t recommend Let’s Take the Long Way Home enough. It’s sad, but also life-affirming. Friendship affirming.
I loved it.