Thursday, August 26, 2010

Life, literature and dogs

by Bob Minzesheimer

USA Today
August 26, 2010

Writer Caroline Knapp was 42 when she died, seven weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002.

She's best known for Drinking: A Love Story, her 1996 memoir about life as a "high-functioning alcoholic." But she also wrote Pack of Two (1998) on why people, including herself, are so attached to their dogs.

And it was dogs — not books — that connected Knapp with book critic Gail Caldwell, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for her reviews at The Boston Globe.

Theirs is "an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too," Caldwell writes in the opening sentence of Let's Take the Long Way Home, a heartbreaker of a memoir.

If grief can ever be graceful, then Caldwell gracefully weaves a thread of stories that describe and ponder friendship and loss.


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