Lene Fogelberg is dying—she is sure of it—but no doctor in Sweden, her home country, believes her. Love stories enfold her, with the man who will become her husband, with her enchanting surroundings, and later, with her two precious daughters. But despite her happiness, the question she has carried in her heart since childhood—Will I die young?—is closing in, threatening all she holds dear, even her sanity. When her young family moves to the US, an answer, a diagnosis, is finally found: she is in the last stages of a fatal congenital heart disease. But is it too late?Unflinchingly honest and often harrowing,Beautiful Affliction is an inspiring account of growing up and living on the verge of death—and of the beauty, harshness, loneliness, and, ultimately, unbending love that can be found there.
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♦ Oh you guys! This, this is the memoir I have been wanting to read. Beautiful Affliction is so powerful and fluid, this could easily stand as a fiction novel, but the fact that it is a true tale makes it just so much more. When a three line email transcribed in a book makes you tear up, you know you have found something almost magical. While reading I was genuinely concerned that the main character would die. I would then have to snap myself out of it and realize she wrote the book, so very much alive. The writing was that good and that transformative that you will get caught in the moments and not realize you already know the outcome. I have been complaining recently about the lack of depth in the memoirs I have been reading; they seem more like lists and entries in a day planner. This is one that wipes my palette clean and reminds me why I love memoirs. The chance to experience a snapshot of someone else’s life, to live in and experience their world in a powerful way. I think it is an intrinsic part of human nature to be voyeuristic and when you can find a vessel such as this to dip into for a day, you are lucky. So in short, world, pacing, people, tone all fantastic. Go read this.
◊ Favorite lines from Chapter 50 – “…their soft hair against my cheek for the last time and their laughter and their steps through the garden and into the blackness jumping from star to star and the threshold is swinging and I have to hold on because if I let go the door will close behind me and there is nothing like this abyss anywhere on earth, the threshold a tiny bridge between endless worlds and the darkness closing in, I have to turn toward the light, the outstretched hand I have to take, you already know, Lene, yes, I know but I was thinking nothing is impossible and I love so very much but now my heart beats for the last time, the last the last the last the last.”