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Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers Hardcover – September 26, 2006

97 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The breast cancer diagnosis Edwards received on November 3, 2004, is dismayingly common. Uncommon, however, is the timing and the circumstances surrounding it. Wife of the vice presidential candidate John Edwards, Edwards's discovery of the lump on her breast came the day after the election and subsequent defeat of the Kerry-Edwards ticket. This mixture of the common and the uncommon, of the everyday and the extraordinary, defines Edwards and her life. A lawyer, mother of a grown daughter and two young children, and the wife of a politician, Edwards is both an optimist and a realist with the ability to laugh at herself. Yet she has had to endure a parent's worst nightmare—the death of her teenage son, Wade, in a car accident. In the end, however, Edwards's memoir is not about cancer, politics or even unbearable loss (though the description of her grief is heart-wrenching). It's about the value of people coming together to support each other. You'll find no celebrity gossip here. But like the kiss on the forehead her husband gave her at the end of their first date, this memoir is disarmingly moving. First serial to People, second serial to Ladies' Home Journal; feature in Good Housekeeping; national author tour; October 2 appearances on The Today Show and NBC Nightly News. (Sept. 26)
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Reader Praise for Saving Graces

“I feel as if I’ve just had a long heart-to-heart with a wonderful new friend. Your writing is so open and engaging, truly.” 
— Louisa Dykstra, Des Moines, IA 

“I admire your continued courage, wisdom, and generosity. You are truly an inspiration.”
— Peggy Abrams, Raleigh, NC

“I wept when I read about your son Wade, and I can't even imagine how you felt when you discovered your breast cancer. But you are a survivor. Your strength is an inspiration to me. Thank you.”
— Amy Manata, Skokie, IL

“I have taken so much wisdom from your words and those of your husband. Life is full of heartache. But life is such a wonderful tapestry of colors, grays and oranges, sad ones, happy ones. . . “
— Priscilla Harcourt, Tewksbury, MA

“You are an inspiration and not simply because of your own courage but because you lead us to other heroes. You show me the hero that is your son and the hero that is my mother.”
— Carina Ost, Los Angeles, CA

“It is you who deserves our graces. You showed the world how to be strong, courageous, and most of all determined.”
— Eddie Alexander, San Mateo, CA

“You have been an inspiration to me because of your grace and consideration to all of us who support your battle against breast cancer as well as your obvious humanity and ability to speak to us as though we were in your living room.”
— Ellen E. Schaefer, Eugene, OR

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767925378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767925372
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,578,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ELIZABETH EDWARDS is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Saving Graces. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her two youngest children and husband, John.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Foster Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Elizabeth Edwards' extraordinary memoir she traces the careers of many of her friends and acquaintances, who like her, were children of military families, had lived all over the world and to whom "the world was wide open." Ms. Edwards, as most Americans now know, saw that world shattered when she and her husband John Edwards lost their son in a freak automobile accident when the young man was only 16. Then there was her diagnosis with breast cancer just before the 2004 Presidential election. Ms. Edwards writes with remarkable honesty about those two events as well as the 2004 election. She was once a Ph.D candidate in English at the University of North Carolina before she switched to law. The result is an extremely well-written memoir, parts of which are almost to painful to read. She always refers to her son as "my boy," words that speak multitudes. Her thoughts on grief are every bit as good as what Joan Didion had to say on the subject in her recent THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING.

Some of Ms. Edwards' conclusions: She came to accept a God that does not intervene in "accident, disease, violence." It may not be the God we want but it is the God we have. She also reminds us that as in the case of Cain and Abel, "no one will step in and protect the pure from death." And as much as we love our families, we cannot spare them from pain.

Ms. Edwards' candor about her diagnosis and treatment of cancer is also an inspiration to us all, whether we have had cancer or are friends or family of cancer patients. That inspiration has been returned to her more than the Biblical fourfold as she has received over 65,000 messages of support from people of all walks of life; she prints some of them in the chapter "Washington: The Hospital.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L. Taylor on February 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew nothing about Elizabeth Edwards when I first purchased this book but now I have a deep respect for her and her family. This book is not political in nature, it is just the story of her life which at times is wonderful and at others is truly heart-breaking. Mrs. Edwards is an eloquent writer and the stories just flow out of her. You can feel her pain on the pages as she discusses the loss of her son and the uncertainty about finding out she had breast cancer.
Mrs. Edwards has truly had an interesting life starting in Japan as a military kid and up to now as a presidential candidates wife. You will feel like you know her as a personal friend after reading this book and I feel she is one of the most genuine people you will ever find.
This is really a good read and I recommend it to anyone.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sandi Packard on February 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Elizabeth is an amazing woman. This book is an inspiration to anyone who has suffered the loss of a child and the "BIG C" diagnosis. Her story is the story of many women. It is well written. I gave this book to my mother as a gift with the instruction that I wanted to borrow the book as soon as she finished it. She started reading and couldn't put it down. My mother is 85 years "young". She loved the book, as did I. Great read and very inspiring. It doesn't matter who you are, what you have, where you live.....Her loses and how she deals with them make for an awesome read.
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59 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Nancy A Draper on September 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Saving Graces," by Elizabeth Edwards is a gift to all women. Elizabeth Edwards was in the midst of her husband's vice-presidential campaign, giving speeches throughout the country when she became concerned about her own health. One day while taking a shower, she noticed a lump in her breast. That morning, Elizabeth Edwards knew she was remiss by neglecting her regular mammogram examinations. Through reading her book, more women have learned the dire consequences of not being tested on a regular basis. "Saving Graces" will inspire many women to get a mammogram to help detect any abnormalities before they become cancerous. As soon as the election was over, she was immediately treated by experts in the field. Elizabeth was diagnosed as being in the later stages of the disease. Her fight for life was to begin. But we are talking about a woman of strength, courage, faith, and tenacity. She is also a witty, intelligent, and a remarkable woman with an optimistic spirit.

After all, she had suffered the worst tragedy a parent can experience. She and her husband, John, had lost their precious teenage son, Wade, in a car accident. Now, she was about to battle another nightmare. This gripping book will inspire, educate, and stir your emotions. Elizabeth Edwards doesn't hold back, but tells her life story with honesty and courage. Men will also enjoy her story as she tells of her life growing up as a military "brat", raising her children, and helping her husband during his political campaigns.

Elizabeth Edwards believes in the power of community coming together to help each other in good times and bad. Through a sisterhood of community with other women throughout the country, she was able to stand up to the adversity that faced her.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte L. Holt on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
While her book was a fine read in its own right, especially for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one or faced a battle with cancer, it also gave such insight into the real lives of a politician's wife and family. But from the very first pages the political story plays such a minor role to the story of a loving, damaged family and the peril faced by its narrator. It must have been very therapeutic to write this--it is certainly cathartic to those who read it. Elizabeth Edwards needed to tell her story and she told it with a grace and candor. I hope the pressure of another campaign does not take its toll on her recovering stamina and health. This world needs Elizabeth Edwards.
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