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AfterImage: A Brokenhearted Memoir of a Charmed Life [Kindle Edition]

Carla Malden
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this fiercely personal account of her battling the before, and surviving the after, of losing her husband to cancer, Carla Malden takes us on a journey through grief to gratitude that alerts the entire forever-young generation: this is not your mother’s widowhood. AfterImage is a story of love more than loss, memory more than sorrow, life more than death. 

 

 



Editorial Reviews

Review

“I've spent my professional life telling stories. AFTERIMAGE does exactly that and touches us where we live. It is compelling, moving, raw -- with moments of surprising humor. I try to leave my audiences with meaningful and enduring images from my movies. That's exactly what Carla Malden achieves with her newest book.”  — Michael Douglas
 

“Carla Malden traces the awful journey of her young husband’s illness and death with such precision and care, expressing the emotion between the exhilaration of hope and the darkness of reality so powerfully, that her eloquence turns grief into poetry and enlightenment.”   — Blythe Danner

 

“Carla Malden’s memoir about her husband and screenwriting partner Laurence Starkman is a haunting story of love and loss, and a demonstration of the courage required to put a broken life together again.”    — Susan Cooper, author of The Dark is Rising

 

“All I can say is WOW!!! I read for a living which means I consume over 50 books a year just to prep for my show. Never has one made me cry until I read this manuscript. Although this is a book that will tug at your heart, it is like the tug on a fishing line when you know you’ve got a big one. I can’t wait to share it with others. I’d be honored to have author Carla Malden as a guest on my show. This is more than a book, it’s a blessing for anyone who reads it.”  —    Barry Kibrick, Producer and Host: Between the Lines

 

Emotionally raw from start to finish, the story . . . also celebrates a rare and profound love that transcended death. A brutally candid memoir of the ‘all-consuming and profoundly uncomplicated’ power of grief.”  —Kirkus Reviews

 

 



A searing account of how the author coped with her husband’s year-long struggle with colon cancer and his untimely death.

Screenwriter Malden—daughter of actor Karl Malden, with whom she wrote the memoir When Do I Start? (1997)—had been together with screenwriter Laurence Starkman from the time they were high-school students in the late 1960s. Certainly by Hollywood standards, their partnership had proven to be remarkable, and not just for its longevity, but for their deep connection. “We got each other in a way that we knew no one else ever would or could. Soul mates, they call it.” So when Starkman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006, Malden was devastated. The good—some would say “charmed”—life she had been leading with her beloved “best friend” had now turned permanently upside down. Without mincing words, the author chronicles her harsh awakening into the very human world of suffering. The day of Starkman's diagnosis, she unwillingly entered a “foreign land” in which “I [did] not speak the language.” Literacy was forced upon her through radical immersion in her husband’s unexpected health crisis. Bewildered, angry and frightened, she struggled to adjust to the demands of his metastasizing cancer, which included endless rounds of hospital visits, blood tests and chemotherapy and a fruitless search for balance and normalcy. Malden’s experiences with illness and the eventual bereavement it brought offered no glimpses into higher spiritual truths or God. For her, a universe in which cancer could strike down her vibrant husband was “random…capricious and nihilistic.” Emotionally raw from start to finish, the story makes for admittedly difficult reading. What saves it from sinking into pure melodrama are its fleeting moments of humor and the fact that it also celebrates a rare and profound love that transcended death.

A brutally candid memoir of the “all-consuming and profoundly uncomplicated” power of grief.

---
Kirkus Reviews

From the Inside Flap

“Mrs. Starkman,” said the doctor, “sit down.”Ten months, three weeks later, my husband was dead.

I will say it right now, from the start, that the most I will be able to offer is this: For some inexplicable reason—at once miraculous and diabolical—the heart keeps beating even when it is irreparably broken.
 
The eye experiences an afterimage when a bright light is extinguished. But there are also afterimages of the heart, afterimages that remain imprinted well beyond the time a beloved has died.
 
Carla and Laurence were high school sweethearts who married, worked as screenwriting partners, and delighted in their daughter. In this beautifully told, fiercely personal account, Carla Malden traces her journey, sharing how her world shifted with her husband’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, then crumbled with his death. How, in learning to fold his absence into her life, she has carried on. 
 
An exploration of grief too soon, this book is, at its core, a love story, as all real stories of loss must be.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1718 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: skirt!; First edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006073CJS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,892 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Love Story with No End July 30, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Afterimage" is a love story on steroids as told by screenwriter Carla Malden. She writes about her husband Laurence's 11-month struggle with colon cancer and his untimely death at age 55. Carla also chronicles her grief during her first year as a young, baby-boomer widow. The book covers a lot of territory and almost reads like a novel. I couldn't put it down even though it's in hardcover. (Where's the e-book?). I lost my own soulmate, Jeri, to ovarian cancer in 2009. She died at age 56. So I can relate to the cancer-fighting part, and I can certainly relate to the grief that follows. Mostly, I can relate to the love story that accompanies "death do us part." This is not a self-help book but it helped me tremendously. Why? Because Carla shared with us something very personal. Her raw account helped me reflect on my own experience with cancer, death, and the subsequent grief. The book helped me fill in some of the missing pieces in this endlessly-complex puzzle. Thank you, Carla.

The disease-fighting chapters provide a vivid description of the emotional roller coaster that accompanies late-stage cancer. Carla knows her medical terms and colon cancer treatments. She describes Laurence's surgery and how he dealt with his colostomy. She describes the chemotherapy, the catheter port, and the neuropathy. She hits it on the nail when she writes: "Chemo nurses are a special brand of angels." I can relate with her when she writes: "I am not a caregiver...I am his wife.... I wanted to get back to Laurence's hospital room, in the way that you can think of nothing but returning home to your baby when you leave her with a sitter for the first time...."

Carla describes Laurence's agonizing pain at the end. There's no whitewashing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeously Written May 5, 2011
Format:Hardcover
A close family friend recently lost her husband to cancer, so I decided to read this book before giving it to her. And I have to say that I was utterly captivated with Carla Malden's story and brilliant writing. The book reads like a novel, and while its focus is her husband's cancer diagnosis and eventual death, it reads more like a love story and celebration of a beautiful marriage. I thought that I might not entirely relate to the material but instead found myself up late at night, wanting to keep reading. And, it was a good reminder that life is short and you have to appreciate those you love while you can--it made me feel a deeper sense of gratitude for my own husband. I highly recommend this book both to those suffering through the grieving process and those who are simply looking for a truly memorable read. You will find yourself rooting for Carla and her husband every step of the way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching account of courage and survival~!! May 25, 2011
Format:Hardcover
AfterImage is a brokenhearted memoir of a charmed life.

Carla Malden believes she has the perfect world, a husband who adores her, a daughter who is a blessing, a career that shines and great friends and family. Carla and her husband, Laurence Starkman, are a husband-wife combo team who writes screenplays together. They are not only lovers but they are each others best friend. Their only hope in life is to grow old together and watch their children and grandchildren grow.

Only, things don't always go the way we wish for them to. On the day that they learn of Laurence's cancer, Carla feels her world has come crashing down around her and she wraps herself in a coat of denial. Following doctors advice, new agers, guru's and any source they can find to make Laurence well and whole, they follow. Every lead, every mention, they make themselves appointments, eat weird things, try different therapies in the hopes that they will cure the cancer so that they can continue along with their idyllic life.

After the first surgery and the ensuing chemotherapy that follows, Carla, Laurence and their only daughter, Cami, continue to hope and pray that all will be well. They never stray from any suggestion and they feel they are doing everything right. We watch as Carla goes through the stages of grief, first and foremost, she is in denial, through the better part of the book, Carla has serious difficulties coming to terms with her husband's illness, almost believing that if she just wished hard enough, all will be well. She deals with her anger, at herself, the doctors and Laurence, especially Laurence, who she feels has betrayed her by not living, not trying harder.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Memoir That Will Change How You See Life! May 11, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Probably one of the most difficult challenges to weather in this life is the loss of someone very close to you and even worse watching them battle for a win in their life against a disease that will ultimately claim them.

In the novel After Image by Carla Malden, we get to share in her personal memoir of dealing with the loss of her husband Laurence to cancer at such an early age in their marriage. The story is so touching and real for me because I couldn't imagine a life without my husband in it and it was difficult for me to read Carla's words as she takes us through her journey of dealing with finding out her husband is diagnosed with cancer and the subsequent battle she faced in trying to beat it.

Nothing can prepare the reader for Carla's words come through as though you are sitting with a close friend who is walking through her grief. We get to see "snapshots" of Laurence's life so we are getting to know both of them in the process. Carla's memoir is about as real as it comes for anyone who has ever dealt with grief or even facing the unknown turmoils and challenges that cancer can bring. From dealing with all the unknown's going through your mind as you try to search for an answer that may defeat cancer, to walking through the minutes and weeks of chemotherapy hoping against hope that no matter how positive you remain, in the back of your mind doubt and fear still peers it's ugly head.

I received this book compliments of Pump Up Your Book for my honest review. This book rates a 5 out of 5 stars for me. It offers a different perspective of dealing with a loss of a loved one so great that you wonder if life will ever be the same again.
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