New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell


How do you pick a book to read? I know that I will gravitate to authors that I have read before. Also, book reviews can play a part in my selections. Then, of course, when wandering in a book store, the cover art can draw me in to look at a book. 

What do you do when you don’t have those factors?  That is the issue when you are going through the eBooks available from the library. (No, I am not going to rant about the library eBook lending system again.)

Let's take the Long Way Home

A few years ago, I was looking through the catalog of books and wanted to find a book to read that I could read right away. I found a tab that would bring up books that were available. In going through the list, I found a book about best friends that sounded interesting. The title of the book was Let’s Take the Long Way Home.  The book was written by Gail Caldwell. The name meant nothing to me. If I had more cosmopolitan tastes, I might have heard of her. Gail Caldwell was the chief book critic for the Boston Globe. She has won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. The book was the story of Gail Caldwell’s discovery of a friend.  A true, close friend that could share intimate details of life’s triumphs and lows.  I enjoyed the book and the story of the bond that the two women formed.

New Live No Instructions

So, I was happy when I was able to get a pre-publication copy of New Life, No Instructions the new book by Gail Caldwell that will be published on April 1. I am faced with a small dilemma. If I describe the main points of the book to you. I think your reaction will be “What the? Why would I read that?”  I want you to read it because Gail Caldwell gives you a frank look at her life and how she copes. She does talk about her Mother (I love hearing women talk about their Mothers) and the puppy that she gets after her beloved dog dies, and her hip replacement surgery. These are topics that may not say to you, “Wow, can’t wait.” But really I want you to give it a try. I will admit that part of my mind was asking while I was reading it “She wrote this much about her hip replacement?” It is the whole story, her perspective, and her honesty that make the story much more than it might appear when reading a description of the book.

In truth, what I would really like you to do is read both books. I do think that reading Let’s Take the Long Way Home first will complement reading New Life, No Instructions.   They are definitely stand-alone books but I appreciated having read both of them. With that said, there is another book written by Gail Caldwell, A Strong West Wind, a memoir about her childhood in Texas.  I have not read that book and not reading it did not influence my reading of the other two books. Still, I suggest that you read the two books that I have enjoyed.

Thanks for reading!

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About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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2 Responses to New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell

  1. Kari says:

    I just bought “New Life, No Instructions”, and had to look up if I needed to read other one first. I almost took it back until I found this article. I was attracted to the title. I’m in need of insight on aso why I am who I am, and how to cope with who I am, how to be easier on me, and to stop being so heavy.minded. Thanks for writing this

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