Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Review: When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back: Carl's Book by Naja Marie Aidt

Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare. When you have a baby, you do everything in your power to keep them happy and healthy, never imagining that you'll outlive them, this beautiful gift the world bestowed on you and you on it. And yet parents face the devastation of losing children everyday, whether through disease or accident or some other tragedy, and their entire existence is changed by their horrible loss. When Naja Marie Aidt lost her 25 year old son Carl, she wrote this slim book to keep him alive, to mourn his death, and to process his unthinkable absence.

This memoir is a primal scream and a whispered sob. It is choppy and fragmented and broken, just as Aidt is by her loss. Interlayering quotes from others who have written about the death of a child, poetry, a repeated refrain, one that slowly builds in each repetition, about the night that they got the devastating call, and classical Greek and Roman writings on loss, this is a heartbreaking and moving account of the gaping hole that Carl's death left in Aidt's life. A lament in poetic snippets, this is not elegiac or depressing but a truthful and loving examination of the insurmountable fact of death by a mother adrift and longing. It is unconventionally written, a little chaotic, and non-linear and won't be for everyone but it holds emotion and truth, pain and understanding, absence and life in its pages.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to review.

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