A Life in Light: Meditations on Impermanence

Bloomsbury. Jun. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781635577587. $27. MEMOIR
This memoir by clinical psychologist Pipher (Reviving Ophelia) is a life story but also a homage to light. Her first memory, before she could even talk, is of light dancing in the leaves as she lay on a blanket under a tree. Gifted with a prodigious memory, she taught herself the skill of storing moments of joy, of light – a skill that has proved useful her lifetime. Pipher’s childhood was tough, with a physician mother who was often emotionally and physically absent (a working mother in the 1950s was unusual enough, but a woman doctor was even rarer) and a father given to bouts of drinking with a chip on his shoulder about his wife’s success. Pipher spent many hours alone as a child, and these memories are the book’s most compelling. Chapters are brief, resembling short stories, and each ends with a memory of light—be it dappled winter light through the trees, a stunning sunset, or evening lamplight signaling the end of a day.
VERDICT A beautifully written, quiet, contemplative memoir that many will enjoy.
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