My Twice-lived Life: A Memoir

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Ballantine Books, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 214 pages
4 Reviews
In an extraordinary memoir that skillfully negotiates between the fierce candor of a war veteran and the quiet sensibility of an artist, Pulitzer Prize-winning "Boston Globe columnist Donald Murray dives head first into aging, a subject that is often only whispered about, stereotyped or, even worse, ignored. Turning his penetrating journalist's eye for observance and revelation onto his own life, Murray ventures back through his seventy-plus years with an unsparing honesty and clarity that age has afforded him.
Born to God-fearing Scottish parents, Murray grew up with little more than a handshake from his mother and a solidly constructed lack of confidence in his abilities and intellect. A sickly child with no siblings, he had only solitude to grow on-a lonely meal, but one that fed his imagination and his talent for sketching out the subtleties of life that have made his columns so beloved.
From his struggles to put himself through college and his vivid experiences as a paratrooper in World War II, to his shaky acceptance of himself as a writer and his survival of immense personal tragedy, Murray addresses issues and emotions that society has long deemed taboo for men of his era: feelings of inadequacy, grief, family dysfunction, and most importantly, the indignities of age. But as he courageously sheds light on the difficult aspects of growing old, he discovers that there is more joy abundant in it than he ever imagined.
Whether he is relaying a war story or his poignant ritual of listening for his wife's breath each morning, Murray never shies away from a truth-no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Propelled forward by the love of his work, a quiet devotion to hisfamily, and an unceasing commitment to understanding his place in the world, he is an elegant reminder that the drive to live fully does not end at retirement. In his hands, aging is adventurous terrain, full of possibilities and unprecedented insight-a time that we spend much of our life fearing but, when reached, bestows upon us unexpected gifts.

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Review: My Twice-Lived Life: A Memoir

User Review  - Teresa - Goodreads

An old guy tells the realities of getting old. Interesting and helpful. I'm at the age where I'm thinking about the end of my life and what that might look like. Read full review

Review: My Twice-Lived Life: A Memoir

User Review  - Tanya - Goodreads

Thanks to Paula Deidrich for reminding me about this lovely little memoir by the great Donald Murray which I read years ago in a class with Brenda Miller Power. We had a phone interview with Murray in ... Read full review


My Unexpected Life
A Matter of Identity
Living Backwards

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About the author (2001)

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Donald Murray writes the weekly “Over 60” column for the Boston Globe. Boston Magazine and The Improper Bostonian magazine selected him best columnist in Boston in 1991 and 1996, respectively. He is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Hampshire, which opened the Donald M. Murray Journalism Laboratory in 1997. His books on writing include Write to Learn, The Craft of Revision, Writer in the Newsroom, and Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, Poem.

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