On the surface, this book covers a lot of the same ground as "The Year of Magical Thinking" -- a wife looks back on her long-lived marriage when she's faced with the death of her husband. Like TYOMT, it even contains a lot of "name-dropping," mainly from within the theater world but also within the literary one, although most of the references in both books were totally lost on me. Still, this book was infinitely more moving to me, probably because Madeleine L'Engle maintains a certain humility through it all, whereas Joan Didion's tone came across as self-important. There's a "down-to-earthness" about Madeleine that makes her story very relateable -- yes, she was married to a man who became a quite recognized actor, and yes her book became a classic of science fiction and children's literature, but she talks very little about those aspects of their lives. Instead, she dwells on the hardest times, the times that forged the marriage most of all--the times when there was no money, when their work kept them apart for weeks or months at a time, when they weren't sure where they belonged, when Madeleine suffered years of rejections on her writing and the loss of confidence that comes with it. Although at times it felt like she romanticized or aggrandized her marriage, for the most part it felt real, complete with times of admitted anger, loneliness, and alienation. Much of the book was actually written the summer Hugh was dying, since at that time Madeleine had trouble focusing on writing fiction (the same thing happens to me when I'm going through a big transition). So the book has a certain immediacy and intimacy that might have been lost otherwise, and its in these regards that the book really shines. Beyond just being a memoir of marriage, it's also a reflection on faith, and I have a deep admiration for Madeleine L'Engle's spiritual beliefs, and knowing that that which she illustrates in her fiction she also lived in her life. This wasn't a perfect book; I never felt like I got a really good grasp on what Hugh was like as a person, and I thought the opening section was more drawn out than it needed to be. Still, it's worth sticking with this one -- as long as you have plenty of tissues nearby as you draw toward the end.