- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (September 5, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781635570342
- ISBN-13: 978-1635570342
- ASIN: 1635570344
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 163 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Best of Us: A Memoir Hardcover – September 5, 2017
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"The Best of Us remind[s] readers to let go of superficial concerns and embrace a deeper appreciation for our lives and the people in them . . . Perhaps with 'The Best of Us,' 'Maynard' will come to have new definitions: Maynard (verb) 1. To find love later in life. 2. To do anything possible to help a loved one in crisis. 3. To let oneself be changed by love. 4. To write movingly about it all." - The San Francisco Chronicle
"This haunting story, penned by a master wordsmith, is a reminder to savor every loved one and every day." - starred review, Booklist
"In this touching memoir, Maynard (To Die For; At Home in the World) chronicles her second marriage. She beautifully renders the joy of falling in love later in life and the pain of watching her husband die of pancreatic cancer. Maynard's heartfelt story will resonate with those who have lost loved ones." - Publishers Weekly
"Joyce Maynard has been through so many ups and downs in her life and she communicates her love, pain and everything in between through her life affirming experiences, written with great emotion and clarity in this beautiful memoir. I highly recommend it." - BookTrib
"Maynard shows us her flaws, her exuberance, her willingness to take risks, to fall in love, and happily, finally, to discover what a mature marriage and loving relationship look like ― flaws, cancer and all. Her readers will do more than connect; they will laugh, cry and rekindle hope that the best of us just might be possible." - Charleston Post Courier
"There isn't a happy ending, but their journey is a beautiful one nonetheless." - Bustle
"Joyce Maynard's memoir The Best of Us--about her adored second husband--is brutally honest and deeply loving." - Woman's Day
"The famed novelist and memoirist on meeting the love of her life, marrying, and facing loss." - The Philadelphia Tribune, "Fall's Big Books"
"Joyce Maynard shares the heart-wrenching but ultimately hopeful story of finding love only to lose it a short time later in The Best of Us (Bloomsbury). - Parade, '4 Riveting Reads to Try This Fall'"
"[Maynard] delivers a moving tribute to [her husband's] memory and a thoughtful exploration of the connection between love and loss." - The San Jose Mercury News, "Books by the Bay"
"The Best of Us feels like a life come full circle, addressing a much more adult kind of love." - Signature Reads
"Joyce Maynard is getting up close and personal in The Best of Us." - 7x7
"The memoir is not about death so much as it is about finding in the deep shadows of illness obvious things, like appreciating time with loved ones and the value of dying at home and not in hospital. Importantly, it has Maynard discovering confidence, nobility, dignity and her best self." - The San Jose Mercury News
"Maynard as caretaker is a revelation, both beautiful and heart-wrenching--a role she undertakes (as everything grows harder) with grit, grace and growth. Her earlier memoirs may have had their naysayers, but no one can naysay The Best of Us." - The Buffalo News
"The Best of Us is both heartbreaking and uplifting, a chronicle of unlikely, unexpected romance and personal tragedy, as well as a meditation on the nature of love." - Omnivoracious
"In her poignant memoir about losing her husband to cancer, Maynard reminds readers to embrace a deeper appreciation for our lives and the people in them." - Best Books of the Year 2017, The San Francisco Chronicle
"The Best of Us is so candid, so deeply moving, so powerful . . . a testament to human resilience. Joyce Maynard is unfathomably heroic." - Joyce Carol Oates
"I love this new work. I think it is the most important writing of her life--profound, heart wrenching, inspiring, full of joy and tears and life." - Anne Lamott
"Joyce has captured her all too brief time with Jim in The Best of Us with her characteristic honesty and with so much love that my heart broke and soared on every page. Everyone needs to read this book." - Ann Hood
"Filled with passion and humor and beauty and aching sadness, The Best of Us gets at the heart of what love is: a willingness to open your heart completely to another person despite the risk of heartbreak." - Christina Baker Kline
"Maynard's lyrical, moving, break-your-heart memoir will make you love a little harder, appreciate each second a little more, and shake your world in the best of ways." - Caroline Leavitt
"This fiercely honest book is as much about life as it is about death. We understand the magnitude of Maynard’s loss because she has shown us the magnitude of her gain: the transformative joy of finding love in her late fifties. I could not stop turning the pages." - Anne Fadiman
"Joyce Maynard's memoir of life, death, and love is written with honesty, intimacy and a generosity of spirit that left me weeping, and in awe. I loved it." - Abigail Thomas
"The Best of Us is shattering in the best possible sense. With exquisite honesty, bravery, and large-heartedness, Joyce Maynard gives us a love story that we read breathlessly, even though we know how it will end. This is a beautiful story about the complexity of ever daring to adore another human being. I was moved and transfixed." - Dani Shapiro
"Oh! This book! Tender, insightful, ruminative, soaring. To find such love and then to lose it, and to capture so much of its beauty on the meager page--Joyce Maynard alchemizes life-numbing pain into dazzling prose." - Hope Edelman
About the Author
Joyce Maynard is the author of sixteen books including the novels To Die For and Labor Day (both adapted for film) and the bestselling memoir At Home in the World. Her essays and columns have appeared in dozens of publications and numerous collections. She is a frequent performer with The Moth, a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and founder of the Lake Atitlan Writers' Workshop. She is the mother of three grown children, and makes her home in Lafayette, California.
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Is there a difference in someone writing of their own illnesses and eventual deaths and the writing done by someone witnessing the illness and death of a loved one? The first is written "front line", so to speak, while the second is written at a certain remove. We know that Paul Kalanithi will die at the end of his elegantly written memoir; indeed, his wife writes the last part of the book. There's a sense of dread I felt when reading Kalanithi that I didn't quite feel when reading Maynard. Her writing was able to "share" Jim's cancer treatment and diagnosis with herself, thus lessening a bit of the impact of Jim's death by including other's in it. That's in no way a criticism of "The Best of Us", but rather a comparison between the two types of memoir. (I'd love to have someone disagree with me in the comments section!)
Joyce Maynard is a marvelous writer. Her memoir is a fitting elegy to her beloved husband.
I love to read, but most books I relegate to bedtime. The Best of Us was one of those books I call a daytime book because it's so good I think about it during the day and stop whatever I'm doing to get back to it for a while. And this particular memoir reminded me that truth can be better than fiction. What Ms. Maynard went through in the last few years ranged from the highs of euphoria (a successful love affair after years of living alone) to the depths of hell (losing a beloved husband whom she just married and losing him in the worst way). Even the subplots were interesting - I did not know about the Ethiopian adoption. Fascinating. I enjoy reading updates on her relationship with her three grown children and ex-husband - the part about dancing with him after years of acrimony was very brief but so poignant. And the way she is so brave about taking off on her trips and adventures alone. The story of the jerk she took to Italy was funny, although I'm sure it wasn't funny to her when it was happening. I love reading about her buying houses and why she buys them. I vicariously moved with her to the new place in New Hampshire which she purchased having only seen in pictures.
What I love most about Joyce Maynard's writing is the honesty. She admits things for which she may get an onslaught of criticism, but I admire her revelations. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to tell the truth. She does not whitewash the bad parts. I couldn't believe how she was dragged through the mud when she wrote about Salinger. Not only was it interesting that he wanted to live with her when he was 53 and she was 19 (and looked 12) but there were some things about his character that the public deserved to know. Anyway, I love her writing, loved this new memoir a LOT and I highly recommend.