Let’s Take the Long Road Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell
This memoir tells about Caldwell’s friendship with fellow writer Caroline Knapp. They met late in life and formed a friendship of the kind of intensity you usually see with much younger women. The aspect of their friendship that I found most beautiful is the way that though they were very competitive people by nature, they didn’t compete with each other. They specialized in different things, and each recognized that the other was so good at certain things that she could never surpass her friend. Instead, the pressure was off and they could each just enjoy doing those things together. Much of the story was concerned with Knapp’s battle with cancer. There’s a chapter about Caldwell’s alcoholism and recovery, and a lot about her dog. It’s a pretty short, sad book: Caroline dies and so does Caldwell’s dog. I didn’t cry, but a lot of people might. Caldwell describes grief’s ravages thoroughly, examining the many layers of her wound, and eventually arrives at something like faith.