Entering her 60s with grace and equanimity, Lindbergh (No More Words: A Journal of My Mother, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 2001, etc.) has more important concerns than wrinkles or graying hair.
She writes engagingly about life on a farm in northern Vermont with its clutter, livestock, pets and resident birds, about her writing and her reading and about her family—both the one she grew up in and her present family. Readers may especially savor Lindbergh’s account of a solo stay on Florida’s Captiva Island if they’re familiar with Gift from the Sea, the bestselling meditation her mother wrote while living there, but no previous experience is necessary to enjoy her funny/sad revelations about her beloved former brother-in-law Noel Perrin and his quixotic relations with the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. The book records two moments of particularly high drama. The first is the author’s diagnosis with a brain tumor that required surgery; excerpts from her journals from July 2006 to May 2007 effectively chart the emotional impact of her illness, also revealing that in the midst of it all she retained her sense of humor. Her delightful poem “My Little Brain Tumor” ends with the cheerful couplet, “It may have to go, though it’s shown little malice, / But if I can keep it, I’m calling it Alice.” The second shocker is the discovery long after Charles Lindbergh’s death that he had three secret families in Europe; during his frequent trips abroad in the 1950s and ’60s, he had conceived seven children. Lindbergh’s initial reaction to her father’s duplicity was anger, but her desire to know these hitherto unknown relatives proved stronger, leading to a moving account of her journey alone to Europe to meet five half-brothers, two half-sisters and their offspring.
A powerful antidote to Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck.