Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Pages: 301
Date: 02/11/2008
Grade: 5
Details: a memoir

This book is more or less a long letter to Paula, Isabel Allende's daughter who died so very young. In it, the author tells of all the ups and downs in her own life and marriage and the lives of the members of her extended family, or should I say tribe.
As is the case for all of us, it's a life filled with ups and downs, with good and bad decisions, with happy endings and hard adjustments to endings that refuse to be happy.
I love the way Allende is able to look at herself and those around her, the way the love she feels for those around her flows of the pages, even while she's not blind to and very honest about shortcomings, including her own.
In the end this was a very uplifting book, even though it was written on the back of that unimaginable loss.

As always, Isabel Allende left me with several quotes I want to keep:

- Every life can be told as a novel; each of us is the protagonist of his own legend.

- Never do harm, and whenever possible do good.

- It isn't the truth exposed that makes us vulnerable, it's what we try to keep secret.

- The worst thing about old age isn't loneliness but being dependent.

- After turning fifty, vanity becomes equivalent to suffering.

- Child, we come into this world to lose everything. It costs nothing to let go of material things. What's difficult is to give your loved ones their freedom.

- You have only what you give.

- At the end of our days, it turns out that we have lived only what we can evoke. What I don't write I forget; it is as if it never happened.

- Life goes along without a map, and there's no way to turn back.

- But in real-life stories there are no perfect endings. Each person just has to do the best he or she can, that's all.

- I learned that we're responsible for our own sadness.
Sometimes we can't avoid sadness, but we can control our reaction to it.

- People get the government they deserve. That's the downside of a democracy.

- The sum of our days, our shared pains and joys, was now our destiny.

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