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Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss and Bold Living Paperback – February 1, 2014
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"Both Sides Now is an unflinching memoir of love and loss and hope. Nancy Sharp's honesty and hard-earned wisdom make this book essential reading for anyone facing adversity-which is all of us."--Ann Hood, author of Comfort, The Red Thread, and The Obituary Writer
"The Nancy Sharp you will meet in this moving memoir is an exemplar of honesty, courage, and grace. I know of no other book that addresses the pain of loss and the challenge of recovery with the fierce intimacy displayed in Both Sides Now."--Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition; former editor, Life magazine
"While it would never be possible to completely 'balance the scales' after a loss of the kind she suffered, she could still rededicate herself to living life to the fullest...Wrenching yet eloquent and fiercely hopeful." --Kirkus Reviews
"...simultaneously devastating, inspiring and moving. The true story resonates with the bittersweet tragicomedy that is life; at once too strange to be real, often funny, excruciating, and deeply romantic. Written by a courageous woman who has 'been there,' her writing painstakingly makes the personal universal. She instills hope after loss, and gives us a literary primer on 'how-to' survive when life hands you the unimaginable." --Susan Cartsonis, producer of "What Women Want," "Where The Heart Is," "Aquamarine," and "No Reservations"
"...Sharp's book grabs life by its tattered collar, examining the ambiguity and the complexity, the mess and the mystery. In the tradition of such classics as A Grief Observed, Death Be Not Proud, and The Year of Magical Thinking, Both Sides Now appears slated to join the rare but wondrous ranks of personal writing raised to the level of universal appeal."--Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Uphill Walkers: Memoir of A Family and In These Girls, Hope is A Muscle
From the Author
Q: Can you describe was it was like to learn that your husband Brett's cancer had returned, after 18 months in remission, on the very day you gave birth to premature twins?
A: It was surreal: like having summited a mountain only to be pushed off the cliff.
Q: You conceived of the twins through in-vitro fertilization with sperm Brett had banked before he started chemotherapy. When you made the decision to conceive, did any part of you acknowledge that you might be raising these children on your own?
A: Yes and no. We wanted so badly to have a family, which for us, represented the future. It was against this backdrop that I said yes to having children.
Q: Why--and what gave you the courage--to move away from your support system in NYC to Denver with 5 year-old twins?
A: I was turning forty, and nearly my entire thirties were spent caregiving and mourning. "If not now when?" This is what propelled me forward. I chose Denver because my college roommate and her family lived here, and every time Brett and I visited them (in better years), we felt an innate sense of belonging. After the tempest in NYC, I found solace in looking to the mountains.
Q: After your move, you read about your current husband Steve Saunders--a widowed news anchor with two children--in an article about Denver's most eligible bachelors. The first time you sent him an email, he did not respond. Why did you email him again?
A: I suppose that I felt like being tenacious. I had just recast my life in another part of the country! I thought Steve might not have received the first e-mail, or that he never saw my note. I had nothing to lose so I simply resent the note.
Q: While your specific story is about moving on from the death of your husband, your book is inspirational and applicable to anyone who wants to make life changes. Why?
A: Life is full of obstacles, most of which we can neither anticipate nor control. Processing such experiences are one thing, but staying in stasis is another. Human beings have the ability to redefine negative life events. Once we learn to see beyond that which limits us, we are capable of moving our lives in a bolder direction.
Q: You say B.O.L.D. Living™--an acronym for how you approach life--stands for Beauty, Opportunity, Liveliness, and Daring. What does it mean in a nutshell?
A: Bold Living requires the courage to move beyond our fears and past experiences. To dream and act and live and seize every precious moment, hard or beautiful as they might be.
Q: Breaking the acronym apart, you talk about how B--Beauty--has many faces. And that surprisingly there was incredible beauty surrounding Brett's death. How so?
A: Never would I have planned that a crowd of seventeen people, a good many of them uninvited, would fill his hospice room on the day he died. Like a chorus of angels they huddled together and sang, "let go, let go, let go," until their voices drowned out the last of his labored breath. Grace and heat and beauty and life and death all at once.
Q: O stands for Opportunity. "You must create opportunities for yourself. Don't wait for life to happen. Make life happen!" What are some ways people can do that?
A: We can take thirty minutes to dream. Are we being held back in some way by not pursuing this dream, simple or far-fetched as it might be? Before I settled on Denver, I thought about moving to Italy. While a transcontinental move with young twins would have been inconceivable, it sure was yummy to picture myself strolling the piazzas of Rome with my children. Thirty minutes is a manageable period. What simple steps might we take within this time frame to expand our vision?
Q: L is for Liveliness, as in "Be alive for today. Make the past a vivid part of your present." What does that mean?
A: Everything that happens to us in life is just part of the fabric of today. It's not possible to rewrite the past, and yet we can find gentle acceptance in recognizing that the past is merely a part of today's story, but not the whole story.
Q: You write that D stands for Daring. What if someone is scared to take a risk? What is the first step?
A: We've all made brave decisions over the course of our lives, even if we don't think of them in such terms. Find strength from those decisions and actions and know that we are gifted with the ability to step forward at any moment. Think bold. Be bold. Live bold.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nancy Sharp notes on the author page that it is her "hope that this book can be a bridge for those who have struggled to move beyond mourning toward life again, past and present at one." She absolutely is a role model for being able to do just that.
This poignant memoir is beautifully written in short, powerful chapters that mirror the shock and heartache of caring for and losing a beloved husband while showing the resilience of the human spirit.
With a raw honesty and authenticity, Nancy brings us into her intimate experience of falling in love, going through in-vitro fertilization, a husband’s cancer diagnosis then juggling family, home and career while watching the love of her life fade away after his cancer returns. Her first person point of view of speaking to her husband and reflecting upon her own feelings brings the reader close to her and all she is experiencing.
“ I love the easiness of our relationship, and how relaxed I am with you. There is not need to analyze our status or what we mean to each other. Never once do I question the way you care, never once do I doubt you. We are sure about each other. Before you even utter the words, I read your mind: I want to marry her. Somehow it seems ordained that we be together. And this is what I told Joanie and my mom the first time you called me: “I just met the man I’m going to marry.”
The brevity of the chapters, as she describes in her Author’s Note, reflects her own grieving process of facing the painful realities in manageable doses.
This powerful memoir is about giving love and life your all then moving on with grace and strength to build a new life after loss and grief. It is a stunning tribute to the beauty of love and the resilience of the human spirit.
Nancy drew me into her life on many levels. Nancy had a heart felt story to tell and walked that tightrope with bravery. What a gift you have shared with your readers. I felt like I was with you on your journey. You activated all of my senses. I could see, feel, smell, and touch along with you.
What a beautiful memoir for Casey and Rebecca and what a gift for all who knew and loved Brett. I want to see and touch the quilts.
Nancy, you are a gift in my life and I can't wait to recommend your book to my friend's book clubs. Must Reading for All!
This touching memoir is not only beautifully written but a life lesson on overcoming the easy way out-victimization. Everyone can relate to feeling sorry for oneself and Nancy's book highlights the choices we make and it's impact on life. This book is about fighting to feel better, asking for help, bold living and self love. Everyone can relate to that. The love story brings tears to my eyes and the way Nancy picks herself up and carries on is inspiring. If she can do it then so can I-in any aspect of my life. Buy this book, read it in book club and share it with your friends/family. You cannot go wrong. Thank you Nancy Sharp.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Purely by chance I met Nancy when she was presenting her story and her book. I had very recently lost my husband and best friend and was suffering greatly. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Elaine M.
I loved this book from start to finish. I couldn't put it down. The writing is crisp and sharp, the story so compelling and honest and lovely. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Renee Schor
I laughed, I cried - really - because this stuff really happened to the author, and she tells her story with raw, deep honesty, grace and wit. I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 5 months ago by jstier
I love this book! It was one of the best books I have read in a long time. It's a tear-jerker, but I couldn't put it down. It was genuine, heartfelt, and heartwarming. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sarah R Kitzes
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I read the book in its entirety over the Thanksgiving weekend and loved every word of it. I laughed and cried and was in total awe. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Arlene Perry
Both Sides Now is a beautifully written, totally engrossing read. I was a little reluctant to open the book, assuming it would have to be depressing. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
The "both sides" of Sharp's heart-aching, inspiring story are rendered with a clarity and honesty certain to resonate with readers who, too, have lost a beloved spouse. Read morePublished 7 months ago by wzinterest
A powerful story that touches the soul. Very well written. I couldn't put it down.Published 9 months ago by Jane E. Vennard