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Torch by Cheryl Strayed
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Cheryl Strayed could re-write the phone book and I would read it. This book spirals in and out in the best of ways illustrating the grief and b.s. that happens to a family when it loses a member. ( )
  Brainannex | Jan 9, 2014 |
How one family in small-town Minnesota handles grief. I come from not-quite-so-small town Wisconsin, right on the border of Minnesota, but my mother is from a town of 326 in northern Minnesota. I enjoyed the touches of home.

If you have any personal battles with cancer, you may or may not want to read this - I currently have a cat with a 3-month-old cancer diagnosis. He's doing wonderfully but it's still just painfully raw. This was a very hard book to read and brought back a lot of difficult feelings. Even writing this is very hard. Perhaps for people who have humans with cancer and have a more similar struggle this might be a cathartic thing; I can't say. For me it was just very painful.

The writing was still very, very good. I look forward to reading Strayed's other work. ( )
  g33kgrrl | Jan 2, 2014 |
Good writing and a compelling story. This is Cheryl Strayed's first published novel and is very autobiographical. I think it could do with some editing, but it is pretty darn good for a first book. Ms. Strayed definitely has a gift with the language. ( )
  dablackwood | May 21, 2013 |
I found this to be an excellent book about a family dealing with the mother's diagnosis of cancer and her subsequent death. All of the characters in the book read as real people, and the situations they find themselves in are entirely believable. Coincidentally, I began reading this shortly after my sister was diagnosed with cancer, so I could relate to the story at a very personal level. Cheryl Strayed seems to have a remarkable insight into how the various people might interact and she describes their thoughts and actions in an amount of depth that I found very satisfying. I wonder what her own life experience brought to this story, so I will be interested to read her memoir "Wild", which is due to be published any day now. It's a pity she hasn't written more novels ( )
  oldblack | Mar 8, 2012 |
Whenever someone asks me for a book recommendation, Torch is the first title that pops into my head. I picked it up a few months ago, read the first line, and couldn't put it down. And, even after I was done, it stayed with me. That is my definition of a good book.

But there was something more to this book than the fact that it was thoroughly engrossing and beautifully written. (There are many books which fall into this category.) What made this book stand out in my mind was the astounding courage of the author. Strayed tackled the difficult topic of grief with unflinching honesty, and without once sinking into sentimentality or bathos. Her characters were not only real in a way that one seldom encounters in fiction, but seemed possessed of that luminous quality of humanity that one only finds in an author who is not afraid to take life on its own terms.

For this reason, Torch will always be on my "favorites" list. ( )
  ericaverr | Nov 12, 2007 |
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For Brian Jay Lindstrom and in memory of my mother, Bobbi Anne Lambrecht, with love
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She ached.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618772103, Paperback)

"Work hard. Do good. Be incredible!” That’s the advice Teresa Rae Wood gives the listeners of her popular local radio show, Modern Pioneers, and she has taken it to heart in her own life. She fled a bad marriage, escaping to Midden, Minnesota (pop. 408), where she fell in love with a carpenter who became a loving stepfather to her children, Claire and Joshua. Now Claire is away at college, Joshua is laboring through his senior year of high school, and Teresa and Bruce are working to make ends meet. Despite their struggles, their love for each other binds them as a family. Then they receive the devastating news that Teresa has cancer and at thirty-eight may have less than one year to live. Those she will leave behind face something previously unimaginable -- a future without her.

In Torch, the award-winning writer Cheryl Strayed creates from one family's shattering experience a novel infused with tenderness, compassion, and beauty.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:46 -0400)

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"Be incredible! That's the advice Teresa Rae Wood gives the listeners of her popular local radio show, Modern Pioneers!, a kind of hippie Prairie Home Companion, Teresa has taken the advice to heart in her own life. As a teen mother and abused wife, she escaped with her two children to rural Minnesota, fell in love with a local carpenter, and raised good kids, Claire and Joshua. Then, at only thirty-eight, she receives the devastating news that she is gravely ill. In just a few weeks, she is gone." "Infused with compassion and humor, Torch takes an unsentimental view of a family reeling from crisis. Claire drops out of college to devote herself to keeping her mother's memory alive back home. Joshua drifts out of high school and into trouble, keeping his grief silently private. Suddenly thrown into adulthood, they struggle to figure out how to connect in this new, unthinkable situation. Their one remaining ballast is Teresa's gentle common-law husband, Bruce. When Bruce announces news of his own plans, it comes as a chock not only to Claire and Joshua but also to the townspeople who have watched this unusual family grow and have come to love them."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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