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Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life

Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life

4.3 3
by Abigail Thomas

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A beautifully crafted and inviting account of one woman’s life, Safekeeping offers a sublimely different kind of autobiography. Setting aside a straightforward narrative in favor of brief passages of vivid prose, Abigail Thomas revisits the pivotal moments and the tiny incidents that have shaped her life: pregnancy at 18; single motherhood (of three!)

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Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This honest, insightful, and poignant memoir shows us the confusions and loves of a woman from her young adult years until grandmotherhood. Each short vignette reveals a memory with honesty and insight. From life's muddle, meanings emerge.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading Safekeeping: Some True Stories From A Life, a memoir by Abigail Thomas, is much like being in conversation with a trusted friend - defenses aren't necessary, smiles abound, tears flow unashamedly. The author, who established her literary mettle with three previous novels, most recently Herb's Pajamas (1998), writes close to the bone and straight from the heart as she reveals her life in a series of affecting vignettes. All of these engagingly candid sketches are short, some as brief as a paragraph. Yet, brevity adds to their luster. Ms. Thomas's life was partially formed by the 1950's, a time when love was defined to her adolescent mind by parents who still closed their eyes when they kissed, and she thought 'We might all live happily ever after if only I could find the right man.' But she is no longer the girl who sang 'Hey Jude' everywhere as 'her prayer, her manifesto,' she is now thrice wed, the mother of four and grandmother of six. Recalling her marriage at the age of eighteen Ms. Thomas notes, 'We were children, not meant to be married, but we did make beautiful babies.' A decade later, with three youngsters in tow, she ran away from her husband to live in the basement of her parents' New York City home. It was some two years before she married again, this time to a bachelor of forty-six, a man who 'thought it gave a woman the upper hand if you told her you loved her.' He, the man with whom she spent thirty years and had one child, is at the center of much of Ms. Thomas's memoir as she delicately traces the arc of their relationship from love to rancor and back to love again. There was acrimony before and after their divorce. She does not remember when they became friends again, but writes of him, 'Now that nothing was expected of you, you were free to give.' She, too, gave as she cared for him during his final illness. To this day, it seems, she misses him, saying, 'It is so hard to comprehend gone.' Safekeeping is studded with conversations between Ms. Thomas and her sister. At times the author is goaded into being more precise in her recollections. At other times, the sisters laugh, remembering their mother who 'didn't exactly spend her days in a red-checked apron plying us with little goodies,' but made sure they knew 'where Ovid was banished.' A poignant sister-to-sister encounter is a telephone conversation which ends in an argument. They both hang up, then immediately try to call each other back. 'Once upon a time anger was the final destination, but not now,' Ms. Thomas observes. 'Because we are older now, and we know what we want.' At one point, following the break-up of her second marriage, Ms. Thomas despaired of being able to find a job because she didn't know how to do anything but fall in love. Not so. Most definitely not so. She knows what is treasure and what is dross; what to keep and what to discard. Today she teaches writing at New York City's New School. With Safekeeping, she teaches life.