July, 2018: A Death in the Family by James Agee

(Book #99) Marcia mentioned she was having difficulty thinking of what to serve, and I suggested breakfast for dinner based on the lovely early scene in the book when Mary makes breakfast for Jay before he leaves. It struck me as so poignant because as we all regret the things we didn’t do when we lose a loved one, Mary could remember that even though it was so early in the morning she made him a lovely breakfast. Marcia served us in her lovely garden after the funeral for A Death in the Family.  I was late in writing my thank you note but it was delivered as follows:

Dear Friends, I am so sorry that I have been remiss in this time of mourning but I was so filled with comfort from our evening together that I enjoyed the first peaceful sleep since the recent Death in the Family. Marcia, thank you so much for hosting us.  Thank you for the lovely assortment of cheeses and for thinking of Geri by including the rice crackers. Thank you for the all-too-consumable wines. Thank you for the beautiful salad and the delicious breakfast baked pudding. Thank you for the yummy mango ice cream with berries. Thank you for the lovely garden setting. Thank you for the weather and the cicadas and Shadow’s attention to us all. Thanks to all for the camaraderie and for your forbearance with some of our more dispiriting book choices. I’m trusting that you all motored safely to your homes, with cotter pins firmly in place and that I will see all of you next month, August 22, at Melissa’s in North Carolina. All should strive to attend — I have reason to believe it will be a momentous occasion.                           Yours in the word, Teresa

One of the things we talked about was the editing that was done when the manuscript was found after Agee’s death.  Though the additional writing was lovely it didn’t really seem all of the same piece with the book. I refer to that in my short Goodreads review: 

My brother died unexpectedly in 2016, so many of the poignant observations of A Death in the Family resonated more profoundly than they might have before his loss. Agee’s writing is full of both head and heart. 
My four rather than five star rating is a reaction to the posthumous editing. I just couldn’t be convinced it all belonged.