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

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

"Since this book came out just over a years ago I've bought about ten copies and given them all away to my closest friends. Never had I read a more loving portrait of friendship. Yes, this book is sad, but it shimmers with life and love. In Let's Take The Long Way Home, Gail Caldwell writes touchingly about her intimacy with writer Caroline Knapp (Drinking: A Love Story; Appetites: Why Women Want) which ended far too soon with Knapp's death from cancer at 42. The two bonded over struggles with alcohol and training their dogs. In writing about this friendship Caldwell reminds us that it is through the bonds we make with others that we become fully alive and experience the greatest joy and meaning.

A bonus: The events in this book take place right here in Cambridge." 

Julia M.

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"This memoir is a love letter not only to Caldwell's friendship with Caroline Knapp, but to their dogs and to the city of Cambridge. The opening line of this extraordinary book brought a lump to my throat that didn't subside until the last page, and I was then compelled to pick up Knapp's equally amazing 1996 memoir, Drinking."

Heather G.

See all my recommendations »

Author Gail Caldwell
Publisher Random House Trade Paperbacks
Publication Date 2011-08-09
Section Biography / All Staff Suggestions / Julia M.
Type New
Format Paperback
ISBN 9780812979114

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.

In Let's Take the Long Way Home, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion and grief in this moving memoir about treasuring and losing a best friend. It is a celebration of life and of the transformations that come from intimate connection.

"Caldwell's writing is serene, wry, and meditative, rather than raw, but even so, it's clear she lost one of the most important relationships in her life when Knapp died. . . . Anyone who's ever had that and lost it—or can imagine what it might feel like to lose it—will recognize how precious it is. The losing isn't the exceptional part of this story; everyone loses something, sooner or later. The wonder lies in finding it in the first place." —Salon

"Caldwell's book is more heartwarming than devastating. It's about the joys of friendship as much as the ravages of 'intolerable loss.' She evokes the sort of soul mate most of us yearn for. . . . Her memoir, a tribute to the enduring power of friendship, is a lovely gift to readers." —The Washington Post

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