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Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    I loved this memoir strength and grief and hope. O'Hara is an excellent writer who goes through hell and is brave enough to tell us everything she learned. I loved this memoir strength and grief and hope. O'Hara is an excellent writer who goes through hell and is brave enough to tell us everything she learned.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    "Little Matches is the bravest and most generous of memoirs. It is the diary of your dearest friend, intimate and universal, an exquisitely written poem of deepest love, grief, and devotion. This is a journey of the soul. I feel haunted by these pages and profoundly blessed to have read them." "Little Matches is the bravest and most generous of memoirs. It is the diary of your dearest friend, intimate and universal, an exquisitely written poem of deepest love, grief, and devotion. This is a journey of the soul. I feel haunted by these pages and profoundly blessed to have read them."

  3. 4 out of 5

    دُعاء| Doaa

    I felt every emotion that could ever be felt

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    An intensely difficult to read memoir by a mother who loses her only daughter-- from complications of a lifetime of suffering from cystic fibrosis. Maryanne discusses her pain; she will do anything to help Caitlin. In her grief, she seeks help from mediums and astrologers, and finds signs everywhere. I liked the quote from Caitlin and Leonard Cohen: "We can choose to be kind and to keep trying—we have the power.... there is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Thanks to Edelweis An intensely difficult to read memoir by a mother who loses her only daughter-- from complications of a lifetime of suffering from cystic fibrosis. Maryanne discusses her pain; she will do anything to help Caitlin. In her grief, she seeks help from mediums and astrologers, and finds signs everywhere. I liked the quote from Caitlin and Leonard Cohen: "We can choose to be kind and to keep trying—we have the power.... there is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this ARC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Crytzer Fry

    I am not generally a memoir reader or an audiobook listener. But I met Maryanne through social media years ago (when her fabulous debut novel, Cascade, was published) and I knew I had to experience this book, subtitled a memoir of grief and light, in her voice. The strength it must have taken to write this story is unimaginable, but I know I am a better person for having experienced these words about a daughter’s young life taken too soon by cystic fibrosis. To be sure, the author’s grief is laid I am not generally a memoir reader or an audiobook listener. But I met Maryanne through social media years ago (when her fabulous debut novel, Cascade, was published) and I knew I had to experience this book, subtitled a memoir of grief and light, in her voice. The strength it must have taken to write this story is unimaginable, but I know I am a better person for having experienced these words about a daughter’s young life taken too soon by cystic fibrosis. To be sure, the author’s grief is laid bare upon these pages. But there is more. Within this memoir is intense joy, hope, and belief. Messages of kindness, faith, perseverance and positivity. The author’s daughter Caitlin was wise beyond her years, and by the end of the book, I felt I’d grown to know and love her, too. The fact that the audiobook includes a recording of Caitlin, herself, was wonderful. What an honor to get a peek into a world of such intense love and hope. My only regret in having listened vs. read is that I was unable to capture Caitiln’s many, many sage words of wisdom. One of Caitlin’s comments spoke to me so much that I did transcribe it. From Caitlin (an extraordinary writer, herself), about life’s obstacles: “Courage is the answer. It doesn’t negate the problem. It exists within the problem. And when you realize the answer lies in taking in the problem – and living in spite of it, with full awareness of it – you feel a new option and a new sense of hope and life.” Wow. So many pearls of wisdom about life from a 30-year-old woman facing so many obstacles, but with a fierce positivity. And what I also enjoyed so thoroughly was the author’s quest to understand life after death – the seemingly coincidental incidents throughout her life, and after Caitlin’s passing, that point to the soul as a continuing presence. Hawks and numbers and songs as signs that the departed are still among us ... As Maryanne says, “You can’t make this stuff up.” Highly recommend.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marika

    An achingly beautiful memoir written by the parents of Caitlin O'Hara after learning that Caitlin was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of two. Their journey took place over 32 years as they awaited lungs that were suitable for transplanting. Caitlin was on the transplant list for two years before losing her battle to CF. This memoir will resonate with all parents as they read about stepping back and allowing the adult Caitlin to life her life on her terms. * I read an advance copy An achingly beautiful memoir written by the parents of Caitlin O'Hara after learning that Caitlin was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of two. Their journey took place over 32 years as they awaited lungs that were suitable for transplanting. Caitlin was on the transplant list for two years before losing her battle to CF. This memoir will resonate with all parents as they read about stepping back and allowing the adult Caitlin to life her life on her terms. * I read an advance copy and was not compensated.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pam Jenoff

    O'Hara writes of the tragic loss of her daughter Caitlin at the age of 33 to cystic fibrosis in this haunting and beautiful reflection on loss and life. O'Hara writes of the tragic loss of her daughter Caitlin at the age of 33 to cystic fibrosis in this haunting and beautiful reflection on loss and life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ebirdy

    This book. Wow. It breaks your heart. And then it gives you hope and shows you that the heart break doesn't have to be the end. I am in awe of people who can experience events like the author and yet write about it beautifully and movingly and without self pity. Her honesty about her grief is not something you read often. Her search to try to make sense of her daughter's death, and her explorations to move through the grief and make sense of it to herself are fascinating. For anyone, religious or This book. Wow. It breaks your heart. And then it gives you hope and shows you that the heart break doesn't have to be the end. I am in awe of people who can experience events like the author and yet write about it beautifully and movingly and without self pity. Her honesty about her grief is not something you read often. Her search to try to make sense of her daughter's death, and her explorations to move through the grief and make sense of it to herself are fascinating. For anyone, religious or not, who has wondered "Is that it? Are they just gone forever?" when losing a loved one, her path to find meaning is really interesting and relatable. This book was worth every tear I cried, and I cried a lot of them.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erika Robuck

    A long-time fan of Maryanne through her fiction and her blog, I read LITTLE MATCHES to enter into her experience of loss for solidarity and as a prayer for her family. I felt a certain connection to Caitlin (who had CF) because of my late mother's restrictive lung disease as a result of severe scoliosis. I know what it is to watch a loved one struggle to do the most basic act of a person's day most of us never even think about: breathing. A grief memoir, it was obviously a dark journey, and I cr A long-time fan of Maryanne through her fiction and her blog, I read LITTLE MATCHES to enter into her experience of loss for solidarity and as a prayer for her family. I felt a certain connection to Caitlin (who had CF) because of my late mother's restrictive lung disease as a result of severe scoliosis. I know what it is to watch a loved one struggle to do the most basic act of a person's day most of us never even think about: breathing. A grief memoir, it was obviously a dark journey, and I cried myself to sleep several times during the reading. However, I have come away with a deep appreciation for the strength and courage of this family, the health of my own family, and a new level of mindfulness and understanding around organ donation. Because of Caitlin, I am now an organ donor. As a Catholic Christian, I was unsettled by some of the spiritual aspects (tarot, astrology, mediums etc.), but my heart was put at ease through Caitlin's connection to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and through connections to Jesus Himself, especially through their shared age of death, 33, and the many communications of that number. Mostly, I was inspired by how Caitlin's loved ones have carried on her legacy of light and love through various creative and service projects, including this beautiful book. My admiration for Maryanne has deepened in the reading of it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne Meek

    “The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark” ~ Virginia Woolf Little Matches, you are sorrow and grief, beauty and poetry. “ When you lose what’s important to you, pretty much everything else falls away, and you’re left with the fact of yourself, still existing in a world that must make sense if you’re to continue living in it” ~ Maryanne O’Hara

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tina Arvin

    Like Maryanne O’Hara, I also lost my daughter (only child) to a rare genetic disorder in young adulthood. Our daughters’ deaths were only a couple of years apart and O’Hara’s thoughts often echoed my own as I flipped the pages, however, she expresses her thoughts much more eloquently. This is the story of a grief that doesn’t end but changes as time passes, the search for connection with the person we’ve lost, and the signs that come when you need them most. As I read this book, having just pass Like Maryanne O’Hara, I also lost my daughter (only child) to a rare genetic disorder in young adulthood. Our daughters’ deaths were only a couple of years apart and O’Hara’s thoughts often echoed my own as I flipped the pages, however, she expresses her thoughts much more eloquently. This is the story of a grief that doesn’t end but changes as time passes, the search for connection with the person we’ve lost, and the signs that come when you need them most. As I read this book, having just passed another difficult Mother’s Day, the passage below was particularly true and poignant: And thoughts like that make you feel better in the moment, but then it is May, it is Mother’s Day, and people are kind and attentive, and Caitlin’s friends gather round, and you are so grateful for what you had and still have but there is nothing to be done about the pain that persists.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Lindsay

    {For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay.com|Always with a Book. Maryanne O'Hara will be featured in May 2021} What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you're left to grapple with the meaning of life? This is the overarching question that plaques novelist Maryanne O'Hara as she makes sense of the senseless loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, following a near-lifelong battle of cystic fibrosis (CF) in her forthcoming memoir, LIT {For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay.com|Always with a Book. Maryanne O'Hara will be featured in May 2021} What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you're left to grapple with the meaning of life? This is the overarching question that plaques novelist Maryanne O'Hara as she makes sense of the senseless loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, following a near-lifelong battle of cystic fibrosis (CF) in her forthcoming memoir, LITTLE MATCHES (HarperOne, April 20 2021). Immediately, I was enthralled with the deep well of questions this wise writer posits to the reader: Where is she? Is she? Is there more to life than this life? Does consciousness survive death? Does my existence have any purpose? Does anyone's? Of course, death is the only certainty in life and while that's ironic (and a bit glib), there is so much life that happens in that interstitial space. This is why I think I love LITTLE MATCHES. Maryanne and her husband, Nick, lose their only child--Caitlin--when she is 33 years old. For thirty-one of those years, they cared for a daughter who was diagnosed with CF. They were told she would live a long life or die in a matter of months. LITTLE MATCHES is at once a medical memoir about CF, but also it's a mother-daughter memoir about life and love. But there's more here, too, breathing in the spaces of context are so many metaphysical, existential questions and quandaries, symbolism, coincidences, more. I found LITTLE MATCHES to be wholly inviting, authentic, raw, and told with an intimate candor. O'Hara is a wise and powerful storyteller, a strong mother, and so much more. This is a tough read, with a heartbreakingly expected mid-point yet a profound and meaningful outcome. Cobbled together in bits and pieces of blog entries, Caitlin's journals, lists, drawings, song titles, more, LITTLE MATCHES is a slightly meandering narrative in which O'Hara consults medical research and mediums so that she may better understand the complexity of her role in her daughter's life, her death, and to make meaning of her purpose. In the end, O'Hara becomes an end-of-life death doula so that she may better help others as they let go of this earth, but also to assist those who are left in their wake. I was reminded, in part, of the work of Brian Weiss but also Raymond Moody's LIFE AFTER LIFE, Eben Alexander's PROOF OF HEAVEN, and other like-minded books. It's also a medical memoir, so in the vein of Heather Harpham's HAPPINESS. For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay.com|Always with a Book. Special thanks to HarperOne and Dewey Decimal Media for this review copy. All thoughts are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Diane Secchiaroli

    This is an interesting memoir written by the mother of a young woman (33) who is in the end stages of lung function and must be put on a transplant list. Because of her small size and an other bacterial infection she is removed from all transplant lists except for one in Pittsburg. They move to Pittsburgh in hopes that she can be a secondary recipient if lungs do not come through for her based on the score that is given to any organ recipients.Caitlin become sicker and sicker with her score risi This is an interesting memoir written by the mother of a young woman (33) who is in the end stages of lung function and must be put on a transplant list. Because of her small size and an other bacterial infection she is removed from all transplant lists except for one in Pittsburg. They move to Pittsburgh in hopes that she can be a secondary recipient if lungs do not come through for her based on the score that is given to any organ recipients.Caitlin become sicker and sicker with her score rising but still no donor is found. At Times you get Caitlin’s musings and thoughts. Maryanne, the mother is writing a blog about her daughter from which she gets encouragement and can relate to other CF survivors. You learn a lot about organ donations, Cystic Fibrosis, mother/daughter relationships, grief, hope and Mediums which her mother and some of Caitlin’s friends use. It is a sad story. This was an ARC through NetGalley and the author.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara Goldenberg

    Excellent memoir. Really well written.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janice Post-White

    A beautiful and evocative story about Maryanne’s daughter, Caitlin, and her 33 years of living with cystic fibrosis. There are no spoilers—we know Caitlin dies- but there is suspense throughout the book as Caitlin bravely and beautifully transitions through relative health and chronic illness. She lives her life with joy and adventure, philosophizing along the way about death, afterlife, reincarnation, and finding and living her soul’s purpose. She and her mother, her closest confidant, try to f A beautiful and evocative story about Maryanne’s daughter, Caitlin, and her 33 years of living with cystic fibrosis. There are no spoilers—we know Caitlin dies- but there is suspense throughout the book as Caitlin bravely and beautifully transitions through relative health and chronic illness. She lives her life with joy and adventure, philosophizing along the way about death, afterlife, reincarnation, and finding and living her soul’s purpose. She and her mother, her closest confidant, try to find meaning and hold onto hope through a double lung transplant, which Caitlin gets 2 days before she dies of a brain bleed. She knew love, had goals and adapted over the years as needed to re-envision her life. Inspiring messages for living life and making most of our time here on earth.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan Conley

    Little Matches is such a beautifully written, deeply wise, and inviting story about grieving and hope. O’Hara invites the reader into her world and into her family, and it's such a loving family. We learn about their incredible humor and strength in the face of O'Hara's daughter Caitlin's advancing illness. O’Hara is so generous to the reader in terms of creating riveting and immersive scenes, and so good on dialogue and intimate details, that we feel we are transported into their lives: learnin Little Matches is such a beautifully written, deeply wise, and inviting story about grieving and hope. O’Hara invites the reader into her world and into her family, and it's such a loving family. We learn about their incredible humor and strength in the face of O'Hara's daughter Caitlin's advancing illness. O’Hara is so generous to the reader in terms of creating riveting and immersive scenes, and so good on dialogue and intimate details, that we feel we are transported into their lives: learning every step of the way about what it is like to lose the person we most love and what it means to go on living, with hope. I am so grateful to have read this book and to know that it's out there now, for me to point other people towards. I can't recommend it enough.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Part Memoir, Part Spirituality, this book is written by Caitlin's Mom. Caitlin was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 2. From a medical perspective as an RRT who worked in a CF Center. all medical information was spot on. For me it was an inspirational insight to the family, primarily the Mom on have a child with this disease. There also was spiritual streams on consciousness as to what happens when one dies. It was an uplifting story under a difficult situation. Part Memoir, Part Spirituality, this book is written by Caitlin's Mom. Caitlin was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 2. From a medical perspective as an RRT who worked in a CF Center. all medical information was spot on. For me it was an inspirational insight to the family, primarily the Mom on have a child with this disease. There also was spiritual streams on consciousness as to what happens when one dies. It was an uplifting story under a difficult situation.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Judy Blachek

    Several years ago I read sports star Frank Deford's book about the death of his 8-year old daughter, Alex, from cystic fibrosis. It affected me deeply and I recall the heartache I felt as a parent for Deford's family losing a child to such an insidious disease. Flash forward to 2013, around the time I read Cascade, Maryanne O'Hara's first novel, which is excellent. That book was recommended to me by a good friend who is friendly with O'Hara, who lives within 30 miles of where we live. I started t Several years ago I read sports star Frank Deford's book about the death of his 8-year old daughter, Alex, from cystic fibrosis. It affected me deeply and I recall the heartache I felt as a parent for Deford's family losing a child to such an insidious disease. Flash forward to 2013, around the time I read Cascade, Maryanne O'Hara's first novel, which is excellent. That book was recommended to me by a good friend who is friendly with O'Hara, who lives within 30 miles of where we live. I started to hear about her daughter Caitlin's struggle with CF and followed O'Hara's blog posts and eventually read articles about Caitlin in the Boston Globe. It was heartbreaking to read about then, but this book is a whole other matter entirely. This book is a love story between the women O'Haras. Maryanne O'Hara makes her daughter come alive in this book by sharing Caitlin's blog posts, email messages, and diary entries. It feels like they co-wrote it. It feels so trivial to say that Caitlin was a bright light and her mother's focus. How could she not be? If you take care of someone you love in such a committed, daily, and intimate way, what else can matter? If you know someone can die, they become more precious to you and it is obvious that Caitlin was this to her mother, and vice versa. Their bond was intense and beautiful. And of course, then there was the immense grief after Caitlin died. Expect to cry while reading this book. I sure did. The pain of losing someone who is that connected to you is relentless. Maryanne O'Hara shares her feelings of how adrift she felt without Caitlin. Then came the questions. Much of this book is about the questions many of us have. What's in the afterlife? Is something there? Is it nothing? Are there signs? I am very ambivalent about mediums and I have to say this book is making me question my own beliefs about them as the ones O'Hara visited seem to make connections they would not know about. My one disappointment in the book is that there was no section of photos. I can understand why the O'Hara's would want to keep them for themselves, but I wanted that connection. I found some on Maryanne O'Hara's Facebook page. I simply wanted to see Caitlin's beautiful face with images of her enjoying life. I'm glad she found a deep love with Andrew and really lived life even when it was hard for her to do so. Such a determined and strong woman! What a loss for the world.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Doreen Blair

    LITTLE MATCHES-Maryanne O'Hara The book is well written and is basically a memoir of Mrs. O'Hara and her daughter Caitlin. Diagnosed at two years old with cystic fibrosis opened a world that the parents nor the child, Caitlin. ever anticipated. Many years of Caitlin's life were somewhat uneventful other than a cold or flu that held on too long. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that builds mucus around and in organs causing many infections, diabetes, chronic illnesses and other health issues. LITTLE MATCHES-Maryanne O'Hara The book is well written and is basically a memoir of Mrs. O'Hara and her daughter Caitlin. Diagnosed at two years old with cystic fibrosis opened a world that the parents nor the child, Caitlin. ever anticipated. Many years of Caitlin's life were somewhat uneventful other than a cold or flu that held on too long. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that builds mucus around and in organs causing many infections, diabetes, chronic illnesses and other health issues. It is not curable at this time but great advances have been made since Caitlin's diagnosis. Caitlin, as she grew was questioning and was anger about her limitations. However, she developed a tenacious spirit. The challenges a chronically ill child/family face on a daily basis are monumental. The language and understanding of CF was helpful and there are many questions and avenues to explore in treating this disease. The book is a memoir written by Mom but drawn also from Caitlin's journals. covering the communication struggles, and relationship between Mother and daughter as well as the medical challenges. I chose this book because I lost a sweet young friend, 26, to cystic fibrous in 2009. Reading the book gave me much more insight into all her family's life time of struggles. My sweet friend was a Christ follower which made the loss hopeful. We know she is with God until the day we all are reunited. The book was well written, honest, informative and helpful to me personally.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Donna Boyd

    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-thr 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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    This is a tough emotional journey that is ultimately deeply rewarding. Maryanne's life revolved around her daughter Caitlin for over 30 years. Caitlin's CF didn't stop her from living a full and very good life nor Maryanne from worrying about her. They started a blog, a living document devoted not only to Caitlin's medical condition but their lives in general. This memoir incorporates parts of the blog as well as their journals, texts, and the emails they shared with each other and their friends This is a tough emotional journey that is ultimately deeply rewarding. Maryanne's life revolved around her daughter Caitlin for over 30 years. Caitlin's CF didn't stop her from living a full and very good life nor Maryanne from worrying about her. They started a blog, a living document devoted not only to Caitlin's medical condition but their lives in general. This memoir incorporates parts of the blog as well as their journals, texts, and the emails they shared with each other and their friends and families. Caitlin's death leaves Maryanne bereft but also wondering about the future- grief has hung over her for years because she knew this moment would come. Her thoughts, her hunt for meaning, and her dive into the spiritual will resonate. Thanks to edelweiss for the ARC. Excellent thought provoking read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fauntel Deshayes

    Maryanne O’Hara writes a memoir about her daughter's fight against cystic fibrosis. I was drawn to this book for 2 reasons. 1) I have also lost a daughter and I am currently and forever in the grieving process of that loss. 2) I had 2 classmates at my elementary school who had cystic fibrosis (they were sisters) and their battle with the disease made me acutely aware of how tragic it is. Maryanne's book not only documents her and her daughter's lives, lung transplant, and her daughter's death, b Maryanne O’Hara writes a memoir about her daughter's fight against cystic fibrosis. I was drawn to this book for 2 reasons. 1) I have also lost a daughter and I am currently and forever in the grieving process of that loss. 2) I had 2 classmates at my elementary school who had cystic fibrosis (they were sisters) and their battle with the disease made me acutely aware of how tragic it is. Maryanne's book not only documents her and her daughter's lives, lung transplant, and her daughter's death, but it also depicts the longing, pain, and questioning that goes on forever after losing your child. I thought this might be depressing, but it's not. It's actually a very hopeful book that resonated with me. It's definitely not necessary to have experienced tragedy to find this book meaningful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    A harrowing, tender, grief-filled memoir of the life of the author's daughter Caitlin who began to suffer with CF at a young age. This bright young soul was a little more than thirty, having lived as independent a life as possible, when she was wait-listed for a pair of donor lungs which would fit her small body. We wait with her, hoping every moment that the end we know is coming will change its course. I could not believe it would not as time began to run out and her body began to fail. The se A harrowing, tender, grief-filled memoir of the life of the author's daughter Caitlin who began to suffer with CF at a young age. This bright young soul was a little more than thirty, having lived as independent a life as possible, when she was wait-listed for a pair of donor lungs which would fit her small body. We wait with her, hoping every moment that the end we know is coming will change its course. I could not believe it would not as time began to run out and her body began to fail. The second half of the book is about the author's attempt to find if we are immortal souls and to contact her daughter through mystic mediums. One life in this case was everything to her parents. Anyone who has ever lost someone close will find a kind of healing in this exquisitely-written book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Asuka

    This book was written wonderfully, and I honestly don't have much to say about it because it really speaks for itself. This book has loads of positive reviews for a reason. Maryanne O'Hara is such a strong woman, for holding down through the tragedies of life, and for being able to write a full length novel about those tragedies. This book is heartbreaking, and shows very much grief, but it also shows how to make peace with and work through that grief. This is a raw, genuine, and intense read. I can This book was written wonderfully, and I honestly don't have much to say about it because it really speaks for itself. This book has loads of positive reviews for a reason. Maryanne O'Hara is such a strong woman, for holding down through the tragedies of life, and for being able to write a full length novel about those tragedies. This book is heartbreaking, and shows very much grief, but it also shows how to make peace with and work through that grief. This is a raw, genuine, and intense read. I can see it helping others who have lost a child or somebody very close to them to something that they cannot control. This book is from the heart and soul, and I can imagine it will speak to yours the same way it did mine.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Keener

    Gorgeous, wise, powerful, emotionally packed and inspiring, I consumed this memoir as if my soul depended on it. This is an absolute must-read for anyone who has lost their loved one to a serious illness or unexpected event and has wondered, now what? How do I go on? What is life's meaning? Grief can show us more light than we may have thought possible. Maryanne writes about the loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, with beautiful candor and intimacy, and takes you on an unforgettable journey. Gorgeous, wise, powerful, emotionally packed and inspiring, I consumed this memoir as if my soul depended on it. This is an absolute must-read for anyone who has lost their loved one to a serious illness or unexpected event and has wondered, now what? How do I go on? What is life's meaning? Grief can show us more light than we may have thought possible. Maryanne writes about the loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, with beautiful candor and intimacy, and takes you on an unforgettable journey.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bobbi Wagner

    I enjoyed this memoir book. This is a story about a mother who loses her adult child and the connection between life and death. This is an interesting book that was easy to read. It is an emotional story about a mother who wanted to cry for through most of the book. I enjoyed watching her search for a soul and her growth throughout the book. This is a great story that I am happy I picked up and I think you would enjoy it too. This is a new author for me and I look forward to seeing what is next I enjoyed this memoir book. This is a story about a mother who loses her adult child and the connection between life and death. This is an interesting book that was easy to read. It is an emotional story about a mother who wanted to cry for through most of the book. I enjoyed watching her search for a soul and her growth throughout the book. This is a great story that I am happy I picked up and I think you would enjoy it too. This is a new author for me and I look forward to seeing what is next for her. I highly recommend this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Maryanne O'Hara's Little Matches is a truly inspiring read. A beautifully-written memoir of the author's life with her daughter Caitlin, the book captures the intensity of their experience confronting Caitlin's genetic disease. Caitlin's personality comes shining through, full of humor and wisdom. Like Caitlin, this book has a big heart. Little Matches reminded me of all the most important things in life. It helped me focus on the big picture and let go of the little annoyances of day-to-day lif Maryanne O'Hara's Little Matches is a truly inspiring read. A beautifully-written memoir of the author's life with her daughter Caitlin, the book captures the intensity of their experience confronting Caitlin's genetic disease. Caitlin's personality comes shining through, full of humor and wisdom. Like Caitlin, this book has a big heart. Little Matches reminded me of all the most important things in life. It helped me focus on the big picture and let go of the little annoyances of day-to-day life. It's a book to read not just once, but over and over.

  28. 5 out of 5

    M.J. Fitzmaurice

    This book is hard to read. I've lost many people in my life, but O'hara's story of her daughter's struggle, their close relationship, and her eventual grief tears at your heart. If there were some way to share her grief, take a small piece of it for her I would. I suppose my own grief at losing family and friends has been something I had to hold and learn to live with. I wouldn't want someone taking that from me, but then the grief I suffered was not the huge demon that Maryanne has had to deal This book is hard to read. I've lost many people in my life, but O'hara's story of her daughter's struggle, their close relationship, and her eventual grief tears at your heart. If there were some way to share her grief, take a small piece of it for her I would. I suppose my own grief at losing family and friends has been something I had to hold and learn to live with. I wouldn't want someone taking that from me, but then the grief I suffered was not the huge demon that Maryanne has had to deal with.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lourdes Matamoros

    This book is perfectly titled. You feel the grief but also the light and the hope. To anyone who has lost a loved one, it reminds us that if we look for the signs and keep our minds open, we will keep that connection to those we love and miss dearly. As the parent of a child who has been in and out of hospitals for 29 years, I found myself resonating with many of the stories of Maryanne's & Caitlin's experiences in the hospital. This book is perfectly titled. You feel the grief but also the light and the hope. To anyone who has lost a loved one, it reminds us that if we look for the signs and keep our minds open, we will keep that connection to those we love and miss dearly. As the parent of a child who has been in and out of hospitals for 29 years, I found myself resonating with many of the stories of Maryanne's & Caitlin's experiences in the hospital.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    I can’t give this book a rating as how can you rate a book anything other than a 5 that was written by a mom who lost her daughter to CF at the age of 33. It’s a moving tribute to their relationship and I learned a lot of CF. What a horrible illness. I personally struggled with their belief in astronomy and psychics and as a reader I didn’t enjoy how much of that was included in the book; though I am glad if it gave them some comfort.

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