Little Matches

A Memoir of Grief and Light

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Pub Date 20 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 15 Jun 2021

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“Gripping and true in all ways. This fine, affecting memoir will stay with me for a very long time.”—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion

“In this vividly written memoir novelist O’Hara shares a painful but ultimately beautiful account of her daughter Caitlin’s life with cystic fibrosis. . . . Her compelling story will resonate with anyone seeking a light in the darkest depths of grief.”—Library Journal

In the vein of The Year of Magical Thinking and Beautiful Boy, an emotionally raw and inspiring memoir that illuminates a mother’s grief over the loss of her adult child and considers the hope of soulful connections that transcend the boundary of life and death.

When their only child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of two, Maryanne O’Hara and her husband were told that Caitlin could live a long life or be dead in a matter of months. Thirty-one years later, Caitlin lost her battle with this devastating disease following an excruciating two-year wait on the transplant list and a last-minute race to locate a pair of healthy lungs. 

The sudden spiral of events left Maryanne in an existential crisis, searching to find an answer to the eternal question: Why we are here? During her final years, Caitlin had become a source of wisdom and comfort for her mother—the partner with whom she shared a deep spiritual quest to understand what it meant to have a soul. After Caitlin’s passing, Maryanne began to notice signs—poignant, persistent synchronicities that seemed to lean toward proof of Caitlin’s enduring presence.

Weaving together a series of interconnected meditations with illuminating glimpses of life rendered via text messages, e-mails, and journal entries, Little Matches is a profound reflection on life and death, motherhood, the pain of chronic uncertainty, and finding inspiration in the unexpected sparks that light our way through the darkness.

“Gripping and true in all ways. This fine, affecting memoir will stay with me for a very long time.”—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion

“In this vividly written memoir novelist O’Hara...

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ISBN 9780063027763
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Featured Reviews

Thank you to #NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my honest review. Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light by Maryanne O'Hara is a memoir about the death of her adult daughter, Caitlin. It is a gut wrenching, emotional, yet ultimately inspiring book. Caitlin was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was only two years old and she managed to battle this disease until she died when she was thirty-three years old. In the intervening thirty-one years we see Caitlin living with the uncertainty of a disease that could take her life at any moment. As much as possible she continued to go to school, travel and live in the moment while she could, keeping the pain that she was going through hidden from just about everyone she knew. It is a wonderful full of love and devotion. O'Hara was there to comfort Caitlin throughout her life and even after her death, Caitlin continues to be a comforting presence in her mother's life. It is definitely worth reading.

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