In 2011, when she was in her late fifties, beloved author and journalist Joyce Maynard met the first true partner she had ever known. Jim wore a rakish hat over a good head of hair; he asked real questions and gave real answers; he loved to see Joyce shine, both in and out of the spotlight; and he didn't mind the mess she made in the kitchen. He was not the husband Joyce imagined, but he quickly became the partner she had always dreamed of.
Before they met, both had believed they were done with marriage, and even after they married, Joyce resolved that no one could alter her course of determined independence. Then, just after their one-year wedding anniversary, her new husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During the nineteen months that followed, as they battled his illness together, she discovered for the first time what it really meant to be a couple--to be a true partner and to have one.
This is their story. Charting the course through their whirlwind romance, a marriage cut short by tragedy, and Joyce's return to singleness on new terms, The Best of Us is a heart-wrenching, ultimately life-affirming reflection on coming to understand true love through the experience of great loss.
Praise for The Best of Us:
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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, translated into seventeen languages. Her essays and have appeared in dozens of publications and numerous collections. She has been a frequent performer with The Moth, a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and founder of the Lake Atitlan Writers Workshop. She makes her home in Lafayette, California.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Best of the Year List
From New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard, a memoir about discovering strength in the midst of great loss--"heart wrenching, inspiring, full of joy and tears and life." (Anne Lamott)