Sunday, May 22, 2011

Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Logelin

Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love by Matthew Logelin is an incredibly tragic, unfortunately true story. Matt and Liz were highschool sweethearts, and after being together for over ten years their lives seem right on track: they've married, bought their dream home, and have a little girl on the way. Then all of that falls apart when Liz delivers premature but healthy baby Madeline and dies twenty four hours later without ever holding her daughter. Matt is not only grief-stricken but now facing parenthood alone, but he manages to find hope for the future in his beautiful baby girl and through his experiences reaches out to others like him.

Two Kisses for Maddy is an unbelievably sad story, and yet the message that the reader comes away with is not one of sadness but one of hope- this is Logelin's greatest accomplishment. Even with all the pain he has gone through, he finds inspiration in his love for his daughter. As a memoir, the writing is very casual and familiar, it almost feels as if Logelin is telling this story to a friend, which makes its contents even more heartbreaking. He doesn't hide things that others would have been hesitant to share, for example the fact that Liz was highly concerned that her child would be ugly and while Matt was visiting her in the NICU needed confirmation that she was in fact beautiful. Although these tidbits of information don't necessarily make the reader like Liz, they certainly make her human and real. The fact that these are real people, not characters in a book, mean that they are human and flawed, but they also love deeply and irrevocably and when Maddy someday reads her father's memoir it will be impossible to doubt the love that Matt and Liz had not only for each other, but for her before she was even born.

That said, an aspect of Two Kisses for Maddy that disappointed me was the fact that despite being published three years after Liz's death, it only covers what the first year was like for Logelin. Although I appreciate that the first year was the most difficult, I did think an epilogue of some sort which let the reader know a little bit about the subsequent two years would have been nice. Logelin also implies that he will never date again and although this is romantic, it seems perhaps overly sentimental but maybe if he had elaborated further it would have been more understandable, I can only hypothesize that because this was a book written mainly with his daughter in mind that wanted to keep the focus on what parenting would be like.

As a memoir, Two Kisses for Maddy is both heartbreaking and excruciatingly honest. Logelin begins the books by admitting that he is not a writer, that he never planned to write a book, and without these tragic events in his life he probably never would have. That truthful statement is something I reminded myself of when I didn't find the writing itself particularly memorable. Logelin's particular style of writing isn't what is going to stick with the reader. What does stick with the reader is the incredibly tragic but beautiful story of love and loss that Logelin tells Two Kisses for Maddy, one that nobody ever wants to experience but which he managed to make the best of anyway.

Release Date: April 14th, 2011
Pages: 272
Source: Netgalley
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  1. Great review. This really sounds interesting. I just don't know about reading such a sad book. I usually shy away from it.

  2. yea, i'm not really into sad-themed books, especially when it's based on real life:(


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