Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Loveby Published 14 Apr 2011
|Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love.pdf|
|Publisher||Grand Central Publishing|
Matt Logelin writes a courageous and searingly honest memoir about the first year of his life following the birth of his daughter and the death of his wife.
Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz's pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world. Just twenty-seven hours later, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and died instantly, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited.
Though confronted with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt did not surrender to devastation; he chose to keep moving forward-to make a life for Maddy.
In this memoir, Matt shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends. In honoring Liz's legacy, heartache has become solace.
Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love Reviews
A terrible thing happened to Matt Logelin: his beloved wife died the day after their only child was born, 7 weeks prematurely. As he struggled to put his life back together and raise a baby on his own, he set up a non-profit foundation to help other men and women who found themselves in a similar situation. In the process, he grew somewhat as a person.
Hopefully, that precis will save you from having to read the actual book. Proceeds from its sale go to the non-profit mentioned above, but seriously, just look up the Liz Logelin Foundation and write them a check instead (it's a worthy cause.) He also has a blog with a devoted following, so that might be worth perusing, as well. But please don't bother reading this book otherwise, because it is terrible and made me never want to visit his blog or, to be honest, have anything to do with him ever.
The main complaint from other reviewers who've given this book low ratings is that he swears too much. I, too, have a potty mouth, so mere swearing doesn't bother me, but he uses the same words all the time and unimaginatively. Constantly using "fucking" as an adjective just grates, and loses any power of emphasis when he uses it to describe how much his wife's death sucks shortly after also using it to describe how awful the generic music played at the funeral parlor is (pro tip for those at home: doing this yourself makes it sound like you think they suck equally, which makes you a douchebag.) Granted, this is probably where a good editor would have stepped in, but after the slew of books I've read lately, I'm sincerely starting to believe that those are few and far between these days.
But that wasn't why I think this book is terrible, even if the writing is uniformly disjointed and subpar. My main problem with this book is that the author is a pretentious hipster snot. After his wife's death, he grieved, and I felt sincerely bad for him, but his insistence on "not being lame" when out and about with his kid made me want to shake him. Being a parent isn't about being cool, asshole. I respected a lot of what he had to say about the different processes of grieving: unfortunately, this book dwells too much on how badly he perceived some people to be behaving towards him and made me want to tell him to get over himself. He's got a good heart, as evidenced by the way he treated the hospital staff, but he's also unnecessarily spiteful and judgmental, as clearly shown by his visit to the Social Security office.
I was also appalled that he habitually interspersed the text with "meaningful" song lyrics: emotionally and intellectually, he would have been better off copying out greeting card verses. What bothered me the most, though, was how woefully immature he was at the age of 30, until adulthood was thrust upon him with the sudden status of parent and widower. Before then, he'd been happy to coast on the luck of having an amazing wife who put up with his shit. Seriously, she let him get away with not reading any parenting books or planning to take on any child-rearing responsibilities, not even researching what she and the baby would need post-birthing. And it was pretty clear that not only was she the main breadwinner, but also the one responsible for cleaning the house and doing chores while he mooned over records. As a new mom myself, it made me want to punch him in the face.
So the book gets two stars because he is a terrible writer and even worse poet, and the way he presents himself makes me believe that he's of both stunted intellect and maturity, which do nothing to make reading his book enjoyable. I'm sure he's doing great work with his blog and foundation, which is why the book gets a rating as high as it does, but I would never recommend this book to anyone, because I think the way it's written detracts very much from the legacy of Liz's life otherwise.
ETA: My best friend and I were discussing the book and he succinctly summed it up thusly, "My wife died, and my taste in music is still better than yours." Sad but true.
I received this book gratis as part of ELLE Magazine's ELLEs Lettres Jurors' Prize program.
There are so many things one could say about this book. As a 32 year old married mother of a precious toddler, of course this book rang many bells in my head and of course it broke nearly every time Matt wrote about his lost wife. As a human, as a person who loves to feel and wants to be reminded how awesome it is to be in love with the Love of your life, this book spoke to me on different levels. I don't know how it could not.
Matt Logelin openly writes from a place of suffering and as a person sitting in your living room: emotional epiphanies about loss that make you want to lie down and cry into the darkest place of your memory. His writing voice is exactly a voice - you can hear him explain, remember, connect, and suffer.
So, that's Matt and his unforgettable Liz. A beautiful story to learn of, to give witness to, to keep in my thoughts.
And then there's the book. It's a pop culture book - a source of support for specific segment of the population. It's an easy read for all those who want to take the time to understand his perspective on life.
I hesitate to jump with criticism considering the origin of this literary statue he's built for Liz, but there is a lot of privilege this book is written with (which he addresses, somewhat) that sits a bit awkwardly with me. (Annual trips to Mexico, a $200 baby dress, Waldorf Astoria, travel, supportive and generous families, a Yahoo! job that waits for him, time to blog and connect...) These are sidebars to the story, but told in such detail that I couldn't overlook my discomfort with it.
Not every book is conceived in the same way or serve the same purpose for its readers. The writing was alright and at times I wished for more in depth revelation about the world, life, etc. But the meaning of Two Kisses for Maddy comes from love. And it's hard to be critical with that as its backbone.
I have been following Matt Logelin for over two years, and I was thrilled when I was hooked up with a copy of Two Kisses for Maddy to read before it was released last week. From a literary standpoint, I found the story moving and easy to read if not heart-wrenchingly sad and difficult at times. While I love Matt's blog that is written in mostly in verse, the prose in this book filled in some gaps on a story that I already felt I knew quite well.
From a social, human standpoint, Matt, Liz, and Madeline's story is nothing short of amazing. The Logelins' story has improved me as a parent; I feel like I should give Matt a picture of my daughter as a reminder that at least one little girl has a "better" mother because he has been willing to share his family's journey. The internet following Matt has garnered over the past three years is just one testament to the power of this story; his current ranking on the NYT bestsellers list is one more. Mostly, though, his ability to convey love for his daughter and late wife through words and the sheer dedication it must have taken for him to write a book is staggering. Bravo, Matt! I've been cheering you on for two years, and I will continue to do so.
Thank you for sharing this with the world. It is greatly appreciated.
Here's a truth: we all have a story in us. Here's another truth: everyone, at some point in their lives, experiences the death of a loved one.Now, here's a myth: everyone's story about the death of a loved one deserves to be published and read by the masses.
I perhaps gave this book more leniency than I should have. Matthew Longelin did, after all, lose his wife one day after his daughter was born. But if death doesn't make martyrs of the dead, surviving doesn't make a douchebag lose his douchebagginess. It's very hard to like this man, who almost brags about Peter Pan Syndrome. (Bitchy opinion: more than once I thought, if his wife had survived, she would have kicked out his lazy/manboy/slacker/useless around the house/pretentious taste in music/non-helpful in any way preparing for the arrival of the baby douchey ass within a year.)
And...okay, the cursing. The cursing, the cursing. There's not a soul on this planet who knows me that doesn't know my mouth is so dirty I spit mud, but for the love of George Carlin, cuss words should be used like seasoning in literature. As a novelist, I can admit with great confidence that I comb my MS thoroughly before publishing to confirm every curse word serves a purpose. I almost don't blame Longelin--this is definitely something his editor should have picked up.
Last but not least, i know nothing about the supporting players in this book other than their relationship with Longelin and sometimes their hair color. This meant the whole book was basically like this "Wife is dead sad sad sad listen to music I'm a great dad wife is dead sad sad oh beer!"
I made the mistake of browsing through some of this book's GD reviews prior to reading it. A few readers said they felt that Matt was a snobby hipster douchebag. I wish that I hadn't peeked at those reviews as they coloured my perception of the author before I gave this book a chance (shame on me!) I did press on though, and I am glad I did. I came to the conclusion that the author is not in fact a hipster douchebag. He is a brutally, painfully honest real person. This book is the most accurate, honest and painfully raw accounts of grief I've ever read. He was angry, bitter, devastated, broken, overwhelmed and unprepared to face single parenthood alone for the first time only 27 hours after his daughter's birth. He could have written a frou-frou account of how he was a saintly martyr navigating unchartered territory without his perfect woman. But he doesn't. He swears (a lot). He rants. He raves. He is bitter at how those around him try to console him, or pretend nothing happened at all. He feels his in-laws don't grieve properly. He is a real person, with real emotions. He doesn't put his wife on a pedestal either. He portrays her as a real person - someone with hopes, dreams, a big smile, but also a potty mouth, a bossy side and bitchy days. Anyone who has gone through a loss will appreciate the brutal honesty of the author's first painful year as a father and widow, learning how to do both as once, yet not wanting one role to define the other.
The last chapter is a letter to his (then) 3 year old daughter. I didn't cry through the entire bloody ordeal of his wife dying, but I was all tears when it came down to him describing his love to his daughter and how he would give anything to have his wife back, except for her.
I conclude that the naysayers of this book fall into the group of people who think there is one right way to grieve, and the author's means of survival do not meet their ideals of "acceptable grieving methods".