Bright Precious Thing: A Memoir

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I loved Caldwell’s earlier award-winning memoir,Let’s Take the Long Way Home, which focused on her deep and abiding friendship with the deceased writer Caroline Leavitt, for whom she grieves to this day. This new memoir, Bright Precious Thing, surpasses even that. It is one of the best memoirs I have read in years and one of those rare books that I allow myself to mark up, underlining one beautiful sentence after another.

Women of a certain age will resonate with Gail’s account of what it meant to come of age during the height of feminism and how that movement continues to affect our lives. Caldwell was moved to write this book following the 2016 election and the surge of the Me Too movement, and she says this book is for the women who were stalked, abused, and demeaned; for those who stood up, who wrote and imagined, and “for the boys, too. The good sons who are learning how to be good men.” She had relationships with some of those good men, and with some not-so-good ones as well.

Every reader will enjoy how she intersperses memories of growing up in Texas, hitch-hiking across the country, and young love affairs with the most delightful anecdotes featuring her five-year-old neighbor, a magnificently self-assured little girl.

Gail writes of her relationship with her therapist, and of becoming sober many decades ago, and always, always, about her beloved dogs. She kept a journal (what a boon for a memoirist, to have those written records to mine), which sometimes is “difficult for me to read, the scrawl of someone in peril.”

You won’t find nostalgia or self-pity in these pages—rather the clarity that comes with perspective, given to us in gorgeous writing. As Caldwell writes, “you must love what is in front of you, rather than only what is behind.”

Reviewed By:

Author Gail Caldwell
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 192 pages
Publisher Random House
Publish Date 07-Jul-2020
ISBN 9780525510055 Buy this Book
Issue August 2020
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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