I just finished reading the book, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken. This is a book I've had on hold in three different library systems for the last few months, hoping that way I'd get it sooner. I love to read and I was thrilled to finally be able to read it.
The author writes this story of her own experience of having a stillborn baby boy, her first child. Just over a year later, she gives birth to another baby. The books chronicles her life from her first pregnancy through the birth of her second child. She is a real author, not just a person using her experience to write a book. She has published other books prior to this one.
I'm still mulling over whether I liked the book. I haven't found any other books written from a this perspective and I was really hoping to make a connection with this author and her experience. She is what I would consider an agnostic, so her grief in many ways is entirely different than mine. In other words, she has no hope. While the story itself is sad, this lack of hope makes it almost depressing.
Her writing style is quite unique. Though she is American, she has lived a lot of her life in other countries and as I read the book, I felt a little like I was watching a foreign movie with subtitles. Does that give you an idea about the style of the book? She also doesn't tell her story chronologically, instead she goes back and forth between the past and the present, which is slightly confusing, but also leaves an element of mystery as to what will happen next.
Despite our faith differences, I did connect with Elizabeth's thoughts and feeling about her stillbirth and her subsequent pregnancy. How could I not? The emotions of sadness, fear, shock, and anger are all the same. The difference? Without the love of Christ, her feelings never have any resolution.
I guess I would encourage other grieving moms to read this book. At least just to feel that their emotions are normal. It's always nice to hear that the thoughts running through our minds are the same as any mom who's lost a baby. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to write this book.
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