Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Tour #16: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Time once again for a Book Tour...

Book: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination
Author: Elizabeth McCracken

This was a tough book to get through, as the subject is about a still birth. Other than loss blogs, I have not read very much on this subject, so I was especially struck by the straight forwardness of the author, as well as the ocassional humor throughout the book.

Onto the questions:

I was so moved by the writing and emotion in this book, and I wanted to pass it along to many people just because it's a great book, but I realized that a dead baby book is an awkward and probably inappropriate gift for most people. While reading, was there anybody that you wanted to give the book to? Why? Did you pass it along to anyone? If not, what held you back? Is it more appropriate for a woman who has lost a baby to give out a loss book than a woman who has not? What about a woman who has lost a baby, but the loss is unknown to the recipient -- does the gift expose her secret? Would you give the book to a woman that you know has lost a child?

I did not think to pass it along. Partially because I have never had such a loss, partially because I almost feel that this is a book that is most appropriate for people who have experienced such a loss. I would give this book to a woman who has lost a child. I think that, just like the loss blog community, it would be a great help to read someone who has experienced such a loss.

My favourite line of the book comes on page 103: "Closure is bullshit." In your opinion (whether or not you have experienced pregnancy loss yourself), is this true or false?

If I could, I would have a bumper sticker made saying that. It is so very very true. I do think that there are some things in life that you can never have closure on. I think death is one of those things where the living often feel like they would like to just talk to the dead one last time, or see them one last time, etc. That is a longing for closure. But there is no closure and can never be.

McCracken states that her only regret regarding Pudding, was that she didn't hold him. Would you hold your baby in the same situation?

That was one of the few things that I could not relate to was her decision not to hold him. I have never dealt with such a loss, but if I had...I would have held him and they probably would have had to rip him out of my arms. I mean, I held him in my body for months on end--why would I not want to hold him then? I very much would want that tangible something to remember him.


Kate said...

I just heard her interviewed on NPR. It sounds like a wonderful and heartbreaking book.

loribeth said...

Great responses! I didn't have time to get to the "giving the book" question. I would definitely give it or recommend it to other mothers who have experienced loss. I would hesitate to give it others because of the subject matter -- although if they wanted to know how I felt or what I was thinking, it would be great to hand them a copy & say "Here!! Read!!"

I have read some online reviews by women who haven't had a loss themselves but were deeply touched by the book. So it's possible that there could be a broader audience for it.

Annie said...

There are some people in my life that I wish would read this book, though I am not sure if I am brave enough to give it to them...I do think it can help people understand something of what it is like to lose a baby and what a person goes through after an experience like that. I know I wish people could understand some of her statements, like closure is bullshit and that even having another baby doesn't take away the pain and grief of that loss.

Thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

Visiting from the book tour. Thanks for sharing your answers, I think yours are the first I read from someone who has not experienced a loss.

I probably would only give this book to someone who had experienced a loss too, if I knew them well.

Rachel B said...

It's such a hard thing, to know what to say to someone who has experienced the unthinkable.
I will say that I am glad I held my son, hard as it was. I needed that.
Thank you for being so thoughtful and bringing this subject into the realm of things often it is not acknowledged, and that's just not right.

Cassandra said...

I wonder what kind of reactions you would get with your "Closure Is Bullshit" bumper sticker!

Karen said...

I agree with you about being hesitant to give the book to just anyone, but I'd be hesitant to give it to someone who has just experienced loss, too. I would be afraid they would be frustrated by it because the author is writing it as the mother of a live infant, know what I mean? It's the same with adoption, I think. There are some people who used to identify with me and read my blog when I was waiting to adopt who don't feel connected to my story anymore now that they are still waiting and I have adopted.

Tash said...

Hey, thanks for doing the book tour and answering these!

Giving the book and your response is interesting. I'm a loss mom, and I would to some degree be v. touchy about people giving me books. On the other hand, just the gesture of someone giving me a book would let me know that person hadn't forgotten my loss, and that alone would be meaningful. There's a fine line there between "Hey, you're doing it wrong, here's some help" and "This is beautiful. You may get nothing out of it, it may be comforting, but it made me think of you and your child."

What I find really interesting though is that *you* read it, and clearly had a strong reaction to it (a positive one), and here's where I think this book actually has more value. If more people who hadn't experienced loss could read it, they might understand me/us a little bit more -- even if our stories aren't universal. They might at least understand some of the hurt.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing! Best to you.

Kristin said...

Wonderful answers...and, you can have that on a bumper sticker. You can buy vinyl water proof sticker paper for your computer printer and make one yourself.

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