Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship

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9781400067381: Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship

“It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.”
 
So begins this gorgeous memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell, a testament to the power of friendship, a story of how an extraordinary bond between two women can illuminate the loneliest, funniest, hardest moments in life, including the final and ultimate challenge.

They met over their dogs. Both writers, Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp, author of Drinking: A Love Story, became best friends, talking about everything from their shared history of a struggle with alcohol, to their relationships with men and colleagues, to their love of books. They walked the woods of New England and rowed on the Charles River, and the miles they logged on land and water became a measure of the interior ground they covered. From disparate backgrounds but with striking emotional similarities, these two private, fiercely self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen. 

The friendship helped them define the ordinary moments of life as the ones worth cherishing. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

With her signature exquisite prose, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion and grief in this moving memoir about treasuring and losing a best friend. Let’s Take the Long Way Home is a celebration of life and of the transformations that come from intimate connection—and it affirms, once again, why Gail Caldwell is recognized as one of our bravest and most honest literary voices.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2010: "The flaw is the thing we love." Of all the passages worthy of dog-earing (or highlighting) in Let's Take the Long Way Home (and there are many), this one is the most powerful wellspring. It captures the very thing we hope to find in friendship: a person who admires and cares for us not in spite of our flaws, but in acceptance of them, as part and parcel of who we are. For Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp--two intensely driven, talented writers who found in each other an uncannily similar share of life experiences and ambitions--loving the flaws became a cornerstone of their friendship. This is a beautiful story of the best things about best friends: shared rituals and private jokes, long walks (in this case, with their dearly loved dogs) and longer talks, confessions and discoveries. It would be wrong to say that their friendship ended with Caroline's unexpected death, because it so obviously lives and breathes in the rich and wonderful tapestry of stories told here. --Anne Bartholomew

From the Back Cover:

Writers Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp met at a book function but became friends because of their dogs. They talked about everything from their shared struggle with alcohol to their love of books. They walked the woods of New England and rowed on the Charles River. From disparate backgrounds, but with emotional similarities, these two private, fiercely self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either could ever have foreseen.

Their friendship helped them define the ordinary moments of life as the ones worth cherishing. But within a few years, Caroline Knapp was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

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