Beyond the high blue air: a memoir

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"Like The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Beyond the High Blue Air is a spare, sharp memoir about the speed with which a comfortable existence can be blighted by grief." --Bee Wilson, The Sunday Times

Lu Spinney's memoir Beyond the High Blue Air is at once a portrait of the fearlessness of familial love and the profound dilemma posed by modern medicine. When Spinney's twenty-nine-year-old son, Miles, flies up on his snowboard, "he knows he is not in control as he is taken by force up the ramp," writes his mother, "skewing sideways as his board clips the edge and then he is hurtling, spinning up, up into the free blue sky ahead . . ." He lands hard on the ice and falls into a coma.

Thus begins the erratic loss-- Miles first in a coma and then trapped in a fluctuating state of minimal consciousness--that unravels over the next five years. Spinney, her husband, and three other children put their lives on hold to tend to Miles at various hospitals and finally in a care home. They hold out hope that he will be returned to them. With blunt precision, Spinney chronicles her family's intimate experience.

And yet, as personal a book as this is, it offers universal meaning, presenting an eloquent and piercing description of what it feels to witness an intimate become unfamiliar. This is a story about ambiguous loss: the disappearance of someone who is still there. Three quarters of the way through, however, Spinney's story takes a turn. The family and, to the degree that he can communicate, Miles himself come to view ending his life as the only possible release from the prison of his body and mind. Spinney, cutting her last thread of hope, wishes for her son to die. And yet, even as she allows this difficult revelation to settle, she learns that this is not her decision to make. Because Miles is diagnosed as being in a "minimally conscious state" rather than a "persistent vegetative state," there is no legal way to bring about his death, a bewildering paradox that Spinney navigates with compassion and wisdom. This profound book encompasses the lyrical revelations of a memoir like Jean-Dominique Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly as well as the crucial medical and moral insights of a book such as Atul Gawande's Being Mortal.

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Grouped Work ID 2d66a866-ea24-d8eb-b408-9c27c4452fa3
Grouping Title beyond the high blue air a memoir
Grouping Author spinney lu
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-06-16 04:36:35AM
Last Indexed 2019-07-19 04:50:55AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
author Spinney, Lu,
author_display Spinney, Lu
available_at_aacpl Annapolis Library, Crofton Library, Deale Library, Severna Park Library
collection_aacpl ADULT
detailed_location_aacpl Annapolis Library - Nonfiction, Crofton Library - Nonfiction, Deale Library - Nonfiction, Severna Park Library - Nonfiction
format_aacpl Book
format_category_aacpl Books
id 2d66a866-ea24-d8eb-b408-9c27c4452fa3
isbn 9781936787548
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itype_aacpl Adult Nonfiction
last_indexed 2019-07-19T08:50:55.213Z
lexile_score -1
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_aacpl 155.937 S
owning_library_aacpl Anne Arundel County Public Library
owning_location_aacpl Annapolis Library, Crofton Library, Deale Library, Severna Park Library
primary_isbn 9781936787548
publishDate 2016
record_details ils:a1382767|Book|Books||English|Catapult,|[2016]|258 pages : illustraitons ; 21 cm
recordtype grouped_work
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subject_facet Bereavement, Brain -- Wounds and injuries, Kemp, Miles -- Death and burial, Kemp, Miles -- Health, Mothers and sons, Persistent vegetative state -- Patients -- England -- Biography, Persistent vegetative state -- Patients -- Family relationships -- England, Snowboarding -- Accidents, Spinney, Lu -- Family
title_display Beyond the high blue air : a memoir
title_full Beyond the high blue air : a memoir / Lu Spinney
title_short Beyond the high blue air :
title_sub a memoir
topic_facet Accidents, Bereavement, Brain, Death and burial, Family, Family relationships, Health, Kemp, Miles, Mothers and sons, Patients, Persistent vegetative state, Snowboarding, Spinney, Lu, Wounds and injuries