Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light

HarperOne. Apr. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780063027763. $26.99. MEMOIR
In this vividly written memoir featuring text messages, blog posts, and emails, novelist O’Hara (Cascade) shares a painful but ultimately beautiful account of her daughter Caitlin’s life with cystic fibrosis. Little Matches depicts an unbreakable mother–daughter bond, as well as the crushing heartbreak that can come with living alongside chronic illness. In the hopes of discovering new beginnings after a tragic ending, O’Hara recounts the ways she tried to keep her daughter and their connection alive, even after her death. Revealing that our bodies may be temporary while we live on in those whose lives we touched, this memoir is a meditation on coming to terms with both the inevitable and the unknown. Including two unbearable years on a lung transplant waiting list, living in perpetual uncertainty, and a desperate search for meaning in the aftermath of loss, this account is devastating, but at its core is a message of hope about the endurance of love beyond death.
VERDICT O’Hara shares her sorrow with honesty and elegance, and her compelling story will resonate with anyone seeking a light in the darkest depths of grief.
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