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!) by the age of 26; the joys and frustrations of three marriages; and the death of her second husband, who was her best friend. The stories made of these incidents are startling in their clarity and reassuring in their wisdom.
This is a book in which silence speaks as eloquently as what is revealed. Openhearted and effortlessly funny, these brilliantly selected glimpses of the arc of a life are, in an age of excessive confession and recrimination, a welcome tonic.
In a series of poignant vignettes, each complete within itself, Thomas succeeds in conveying an engrossing life story in surprising depth. A novelist (An Actual Life), teacher of creative writing and grandmother of six, Thomas is a fine writer who spells out the bare facts of her life with dispatch. Pregnant at 18, she married the first of her three husbands. After eight years, she and her three children moved to her parents' house in New York. After several years, she remarried. With her second husband, a physicist, she had one child before they divorced. Eleven years later, she married her present husband. Thomas looks back at her younger self with affection, drawing a compassionate portrait of a young woman seeking to make a life for herself and her children, coping with domestic chores and her own conflicting needs. Thomas writes with serious intent and dark humor about her parents, her sister, motherhood, her children and grandchildren, but her most affecting scenes describe the illness and death of the man who was her second husband. Even the structure of her memoir is elegiac, with its three parts titled "Before," "Mortality" and "Here and Now." Sorrow mixes with joy in this beautifully crafted memoir as she remembers her second spouse as a lover, husband and, finally, friend. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|