I finished reading An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken last night, late but it was such a moving book that I had to let it sink in a little while. This book read like a long letter that you write and never show anyone because it's too personal. And would anyone really understand? Except, of course, we understand from her superb writing.
In 2006, the novelist Elizabeth McCracken and her writer husband lost their first child, Pudding. That's what they called him while she was pregnant and so that's what they called him when he was stillborn. So very sad. But the book is funny and hopeful and so realistic.
Just a few months after Pudding, the author was pregnant again. When this child was to be born, she wrote about the labor. Of course she wrote about the labor and delivery of Pudding too. This second labor when a live baby was born was rendered wonderfully, interspersed with the discussion and thoughts of what to name the child, something they avoided since avoiding helped minimize jinxing the good that might come:
"Shall we call for anesthesia?" said the nurse who'd suggested calling for Marilyn, and I thought dreamily, Anesthesia. That's a nice name.
The book is full of such touching, off-the-wall thoughts that I felt privileged to get to read the story of Pudding and Gus.
Book read: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination
Author: Elizabeth McCracken