Monday, February 12, 2018

In Every Moment We Are Still Alive

This book was so hard for me to read. I had a lot of break down moments.

In Every Moment We Are Still Alive - Tom Malmquist
When Tom’s heavily pregnant girlfriend Karin is rushed to the hospital, doctors are able to save the baby. But they are helpless to save Karin from what turns out to be acute Leukemia. And in a cruel, fleeting moment Tom gains a daughter but loses his soul-mate. In Every Moment We Are Alive is the story of the year that changes everything, as Tom must reconcile the fury and pain of loss with the overwhelming responsibility of raising his daughter, Livia, alone.

By turns tragic and redemptive, meditative and breathless, achingly poignant and darkly funny, this autobiographical novel has been described as ’hypnotic’, ’impossible to resist’ and ’one of the most powerful books about grief ever written’. 

If you are a long time reader of this blog you can probably imagine why this book hits close to home. Long story short, during the birth of my fourth child, I died on the table during an emergency c-section from an Amniotic Fluid Embolism. Matt and my mother were just down the hall, oblivious that I was fighting for my life and that a team of doctors were doing the impossible during an event so rare most who practice medicine never see it. Nobody knew if I would be walking out of that hospital. When Matt learned what was going on, I can't even imagine what he was thinking and feeling. But this book? This book gives me a pretty good feel for the helplessness he must have felt.

In this book, written in a prose style so the dialogue isn't separated from the text. It's very similar to James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, except there is the occasional punctuation throughout. I really hope that isn't corrected in finished copies (I have an unedited ARC) because it adds to the desperation of the story, it makes it feel like this man was jotting this all down in a journal, almost. It's an autobiographical novel which, for me, takes it to another level. This is the story of a man, who should be nervous about impending fatherhood but is instead thrust into the unknown world of leukemia when he learns that his wife has the illness while pregnant and they learn of it while in full crisis mode. She's forced to deliver her baby via emergency c-section early, and Tom is managing his wife and illness and fatherhood to a very premature baby. Add on the stress of their families and being the only go-to person for questions, it's a LOT to take in and handle. We know that Karin (his wife) dies almost immediately and Tom is left to care for this child on his own, without his support system there but also while trying to grieve through his substantial loss. This should be the happiest times of their lives but instead it's the lowest point of his.

The book is powerful, it's gut wrenching, it's beautifully written. At first I had some issues reading it just because it isn't written in a traditional manner but after awhile I found my legs and was able to continue on and I am so glad I did. It gives me a new perspective of what my husband handled when I was in my situation. I cannot recommend this book enough, it's an amazing highlight on the human plight of suffering but also of persevering. Five stars, no question.


1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Wow, I can see why this book affected you so strongly. I wonder, did you find it helpful to talk with your husband about what you were reading, or was it a subject you had to avoid?

Thanks for being a part of the tour!