“[The author] tells the story of how her mother’s unexpected death forced her to come to terms with a tragic family past . . . A poignantly candid memoir.” —Kirkus Reviews
When Anne Edelstein was forty-two, her mother, a capable swimmer in good health, drowned while snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Caring for two children of her own, Anne suddenly found herself grieving not only for her emotionally distant mother but also for her beloved younger brother Danny, who’d killed himself violently years before—and wrestling with the past and her family’s legacy of mental illness as well as the emotional well-being of her children. Part memoir and part meditation on joy and grief, Lifesaving for Beginners will resonate with anyone who’s struggled to come to terms with their family and their place in the world.
“While dramatic events set this memoir in motion, the triumph of Lifesaving for Beginners is that its heart lies not in the large ruptures of life but in the reconciliations that arrive quietly and routinely. I admire—and envy—the writing in this book. Its smooth surface belies its depths, much like the open waters Edelstein swims in as she seeks her own calmness and consolation.” —Kathleen Finneran, author of The Tender Land
“An unforgettable—and unputdownable—portrait of a singular American family. Reminiscent of Vivian Gornick’s Fierce Attachments and Daphne Merkin’s This Close to Happy.” —Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year
“[This book] is indeed a lifesaver.” —Mark Epstein, author of Going to Pieces without Falling Apart