“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.
Life-affirming and lyrical
I love this book. The subject matter seemed like it might be too much for me, but instead I found myself inspired and hopeful. The writing is exquisite, and I grew to trust the author so much that I was willing to go anywhere with her. It’s worth reading, rereading, and recommending.
Faith is a choice
Heartbreakingly beautiful, inspiring and full of pure human experience. A must read for anyone (everyone) who has experienced grief, who has mothered, who has asked themselves what it’s all for. This book is the labor of the soul and we are indebted to Maryanne for sharing hers with the world.