Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review: The Sum of Our Days

Summary: In The Sum of Our Days, internationally acclaimed author Isabel Allende reconstructs the painful reality of her own life in the wake of the tragic death of her daughter, Paula. Narrated with warmth, humor, exceptional candor, and wisdom, this remarkable memoir is as exuberant and full of life as its creator. Allende bares her soul as she shares her thoughts on love, marriage, motherhood, spirituality and religion, infidelity, addiction, and memory—and recounts stories of the wildly eccentric, strong-minded, and eclectic tribe she gathers around her and lovingly embraces as a new kind of family. -- Harper Perennial

I honestly don't think I would have picked up THE SUM OF OUR DAYS by Isabel Allende if it weren't for Book Club Girl's BlogTalk Radio show. I rarely pick up memoirs -- not because I don't enjoy them, but rather because there are just so many fiction books out there that I want to read. And, I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I've never read one of Ms. Allende's novels either. Despite these things, I am so glad that I read THE SUM OF OUR DAYS because it was such a fascinating book.

I think everyone pretty much recognizes that Ms. Allende is a fantastic writer. In fact after reading THE SUM OF OUR DAYS, I definitely intend to read some of her other books. What I didn't know about Ms. Allende is that she has had a most interesting life. She has experienced so much of life, both good and bad, and has the ability to tell her story in the most eloquent way. The title of the book alone, THE SUM OF OUR DAYS, is just perfect for this memoir because all of what's happened to her in her life has made her into the person that she is. I think that's true of all of us, but her experiences are certainly more interesting and unique than anyone I've ever met.

Ms. Allende has had the most amazing life experiences just with the stories about her family members -- what she refers to as her "tribe." There were many that I found interesting, but I was most touched by pages about the loss of her daughter Paula. I think most parents will agree that losing a child is the worst thing that could happen to us. (Ms. Allende has written about book about taking care of her daughter called PAULA that I'm also very interesting in reading.) I also liked the insight I received into the relationship with her husband. There relationship was full of ups and downs, but they've been able to make it work; and their relationship is probably stronger as a result of everything they've been through.

One thing that I really enjoyed about this memoir was reading about one of Ms. Allende's best friends Tabra. I have one of Tabra's bracelets (which I love) , but I really knew little, if anything, about her life. I was so surprised when I started reading this book and saw her name mentioned. At first I was like what are the chances, but I quickly realized that the Tabra in the book was one in the same with the Tabra jewelry designer. Tabra is an extremely interesting person too; and her life is intriguing in its own right.

The Blog Talk Radio show is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday, February 25th) at 7:00 p.m. Ever since I finished this book, I have been looking forward to hearing Ms. Allende speak about her life. I find her incredibly interesting and know this show is going to be something special. You can participate in the show either by phone or the chat section of Blog Talk Radio; however, if you want to participate via the chat, make sure you register on BTR first.


Meghan said...

I finished this yesterday and I'm really looking forward to the radio show tonight, hopefully I can stay up past midnight for it!

I've read three of Allende's other books and I would recommend Daughter of Fortune. I just loved it and I suspect you would too.

I was surprised at the author's eventful life too! I knew her daughter had died, but had no idea this would be such a heartfelt memoir. I'm also planning on seeking out Paula now to get the first half of the story.

Bug's Mom said...

I'm hosting the BookClubGirl on air radio show with Isabel tonight I too, probably would not have picked this memoir up, but I was so moved and inspired by Isabel's story. What an amazing life Isabel has lead and how wonderfully she relays her stories. I will also now go back and read Paula. Julie and Meghan, I'll "see" you in the chat room tonight.

Amy Baker
Harper Perennial

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read any of Isabel Allende's work, but I do love a good memoir. I must be a voyeur because I love having a little peek at someone else's life. This one sounds like one I need to read.

S. Krishna said...

I definitely want to read this one, as well as some of Allende's other works! The only one I've read is Ines of my Soul.

Anna said...

I've read some of Allende's books and really enjoyed them. This one sounds good, too, but I think it would be hard for me to read about the loss of her daughter.

Diary of an Eccentric