Book Review: Let’s Take the Long Way Home – Gail Caldwell

Title: Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
Author: Gail Caldwell
ISBN: 9781400067381
Pages: 208
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp were the closest of friends.  At age 42, Caroline died of an aggressive, untreatable lung cancer.  Let’s Take the Long Way Home is Caldwell’s tribute to her, a memoir of love and loss and those deep connections that make life worth living.

Review:

From the first page of Let’s Take the Long Way Home, the reader knows that Gail and Caroline were best friends, and that Caroline is now dead.  It casts a shadow over the book.  The reader knows, when Gail is talking about their happiest times, that she will lose Caroline.  As a result, this is just as much a memoir of loss as it is one of the best of friendships. 

It’s easy to understand why Gail and Caroline connected so quickly – both unmarried, both writers, both alcoholics, both in committed relationships with their dogs – they have a lot in common.  It’s wonderful to see them teach each other, learn from each other, and come to depend on one another more and more as the book progresses.  On every page, you can feel the love that Gail felt for Caroline, and how much she is mourning her loss.

Let’s Take the Long Way Home is also very beautifully written. Caldwell is a talented writer, and it’s clear that she poured her heart out into this book.  In a lot of ways, it’s not just a story of a friendship, but a love story about two kindred spirits that were lucky enough to find one another.  Caldwell feels Caroline’s death as much as she’d feel the death of a spouse.  It’s really heartbreaking, and yet Caldwell’s writing is so gorgeous that it somehow helps.  It makes it easier to bear.

This is a slip of a book, and a very quiet one at that.  It’s not a memoir of shocking revelations or adventure.  It’s just a small story about two people who were best friends until one of them died.  Caroline couldn’t have asked for a better tribute, or a better friend to accompany her to the end of her life.

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Comments

  1. I first heard about this book in an article in USA Today a couple of months ago. That is one lady that misses her friend.

  2. I first heard about this book in an article in USA Today a couple of months ago. That is one lady that misses her friend.

  3. What a touching and sweet tribute for a fellow writer.

  4. What a touching and sweet tribute for a fellow writer.

  5. Wow, that sounds like an incredibly sad book. I’m not sure I could handle it right now.

  6. Wow, that sounds like an incredibly sad book. I’m not sure I could handle it right now.

  7. It does sound very sad, but also very touching. I might consider reading this, but right now would not be the best time for it for me.

  8. It does sound very sad, but also very touching. I might consider reading this, but right now would not be the best time for it for me.

  9. Wow — sounds like a beautiful tribute, but sad perhaps to read.

  10. Wow — sounds like a beautiful tribute, but sad perhaps to read.

  11. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a really sad book that will make me cry, and this book sounds like it would be a perfect choice.

    And I think I had Caroline Knapp’s book (Drinking: A Love Story) at one point but never read it.

  12. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a really sad book that will make me cry, and this book sounds like it would be a perfect choice.

    And I think I had Caroline Knapp’s book (Drinking: A Love Story) at one point but never read it.

  13. This book sounds really moving but worth reading. I’ll have to look into getting a copy!

  14. This book sounds really moving but worth reading. I’ll have to look into getting a copy!

  15. Ohh, I so want to read this. Our library has a copy on an MP3 CD – I just have to figure out what that all means.

    PB

  16. Ohh, I so want to read this. Our library has a copy on an MP3 CD – I just have to figure out what that all means.

    PB

  17. You really captured the book in your review, Swapna. I loved, loved, loved this book – it moved me to tears…sad, but also such an amazing tribute to friendship between women.

  18. You really captured the book in your review, Swapna. I loved, loved, loved this book – it moved me to tears…sad, but also such an amazing tribute to friendship between women.

  19. I am a huge fan of Caroline Knapp – loved Drinking: A Love Story and Pack of Two – and was devastated when she died. Really looking forward to reading this.

  20. I am a huge fan of Caroline Knapp – loved Drinking: A Love Story and Pack of Two – and was devastated when she died. Really looking forward to reading this.

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