An Exact Replica…

December 23, 2012 at 5:01 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

exact140Title:An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Author: Elizabeth McCracken

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

Genre: Memoir/Autobiography

Length: 184 pages

I have never felt so awful as a human being as when I sat reading An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination knowing I’d be ‘reviewing’ it for a blog shortly after I finished.  How do you justify that in your mind? ‘Reviewing’ something so personal, so devastating, so beautiful, so intense.  As an avid reader, a constant reviewer, and one those people who presume to call themselves a writer though I’ve yet to have anything published, I felt like an inconsiderate intruder reading such an intimate account of a loss so great.  It’s rare to read something so personal.

As a mother, on the other hand, I wept.  I wept, and wept, and wept, for little Pudding.  I wept for Elizabeth.  I wept for a friend who lost a baby not long after I had my own.  I wept for all the things I may have said wrong, all the things I may have not said, and I wept for the selfish joy that my own sweet, precious child was snuggled next to me as I read.  I wept for Pudding, I wept for another friend who died, I wept for his mother because even though she had 29 years with him he was still her child, and I wept for the baby cemetery that I pass every time I visit his grave.

I’ve had a writer’s crush on Elizabeth McCracken for sometime.  I have an extremely vivid memory of reading A Giant’s House while having lunch with the same friend whose grave I now visit.  We devoured deli food, iced tea, and discussed the oddity of a romance between a librarian and child giant.  I remember telling him what a strange tale it was, but if I could ever manage to write anything half so interesting I would pee myself with happiness.  He promised to read it too, though I’m quite certain he never did because he was in the habit of reading the first thirty or so pages of something and then proclaiming himself an expert on a topic, starting novels and not finishing them, and making half-hearted promises… little things that I tend to hate in people, but for whatever reason found endearing in him.  I loved him dearly, and for that reason, I’ve never been quite certain whether my Elizabeth McCracken crush was because Elizabeth McCracken was all that amazing, or if it was because thinking of her always reminds me of him.  I cannot think of one without thinking of the other.

Reading An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, I’m now quite certain that Elizabeth McCracken is that amazing, and deserves adoration outside the realm of  Matty memories.  She’s a wonderful writer, a fascinating person, has a rockin’ last name, and by sharing this book with the world has proved to me (without ever having met her) that she has a very giving soul.

Elizabeth McCracken, thank you for sharing Pudding’s story.  And from the bottom of my heart: I am sorry for your loss.

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