18 January 2011

Book Review: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken

This is once again, a book that I read since one of my friends recommended it. And what can I say? It has been a lukewarm book for me.

So what is this about?

This is actually non-fiction. This is the memoir of the author, Elizabeth McCracken, and her experience in delivering a still-born baby. Yes, it is a memoir about a still-born baby. The book talks about her experience, her pregnancy in France, and the whole process of finding out that the baby inside her is dead, and so forth. She grieves, she deals, she rants.

The thing is, sometimes, the book is funny. I liked the lost-in-translation moments between the couple and the French medical authorities. I like the fact that even though overall it was a sad thing, she was able to add humor to it.

However, what I don't like is the fact that overall, the book still feels like a rant. Is this your way of grieving? Is this your way of rationalizing what happened? If so, you are so bitter. To some degree, it is admirable that you have the guts to write about how you hated your friends for being ignorant of the fact that your first baby was dead. But wow, the bitterness just seeps out of these pages that I feel bile rising up from my stomach.

I understand that people make associations, and due to the fact that this happened in France, the author has decided not to go to France again. As if it were France's fault. No, it's not your fault either, so stop playing the blaming game, explicitly or implicitly. It's just the result of random chaos.

Granted, I am a male, and I never lost a loved one, so I might not be able to relate as much as the author wanted her audience to. Still, I wished there was more rationality and logic in this book. I felt that the pages were doused with hormones too much, and the brief snippets of comedy failed to save it from an emotional flood.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

See my other book reviews here.

(Parading the Boys and Girls, from my Cusco Series)


  1. That’s not the kind of book that appeals to me. On top of that it may include a lot of French bashing and I am tired of it – have heard enough around here.

  2. Vagabonde,

    I know. This was recommended to me, and at first I was curious how a book about a stillborn baby can be funny. But in the end it didn't turn out well. I don't think you would want to read it.