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The Best of Us

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Member Reviews

I found this to be a beautiful and heart breaking memoir. I am glad I got the opportunity to read it. Memoirs are one of my favorite genres. Maynard is a great writer. There are so many things to recommend this book to readers. I look forward to sharing this book with other readers.

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I loved Joyce Maynard's The Best of Us for many reasons: Her beautiful writing, the falling in love with her husband, the opening of herself to love, how they dealt with his pancreatic cancer, and the lessons she learned. Maynard has given us all a gift. Thanks to her, many will understand the questions they need to ask their doctors and will make more informed decisions about treatment. By revealing how she learned what was significant and insignificant in her relationships, Maynard reminds us all to love better.

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Maynard is such a talented writer and this autobiographical book was brutally honest. So,times depressing, sometimes hopeful, this book takes a close look at love, marriage, disease and ultimately death.

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Joyce Maynard's clear-eyed take on the bumps and bruises and wounds of married life show the way for anyone who finds themselves needing to reinvent life.

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I don't usually include the book blurb but I felt it said more about the book that I could.

"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. "

Knowing this may help you decide if you want to read this book. It is autobiographical and full of the journey that the author took through a gorgeous romance and then finding that her husband has pancreatic cancer and all that they went through during this journey. Though it is a depressing topic, after the romance, the author is able to keep the reader from falling into despair. In fact, it was only toward the end of the book that I nearly lost it in a loud sob that would have awaken the neighborhood had I let it escape. But I felt okay most of the read.

I guess I should tell you that for me it was a bit personal in that my mother passed of Pancreatic Cancer. She certainly didn't last as long as Joyce's husband. The doctors did exploratory surgery, found the cancer and closed her up. They said she would live for about three months, she barely lasted three weeks. So it is good to know that many are getting longer life-spans after diagnosis.

Mostly the book is a story of love and learning life as you go. I loved it and hated that I had to put it away and go to sleep.

I did have an issue with the formatting in that every now and then there was a title or author's name and page number interrupting the flow. But it didn't take me out of the book for more than a second.

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read the book for an honest review. I hope others get the chance to read this book. There is a lot to learn here.

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The story is a heartfelt and emotional, but Joyce is not the best story teller. Perhaps she had a difficult time writing her story, but she comes off far removed from the reader, and the pain itself. There is, perhaps, little humanity left in her writing. It takes away from the feeling we, as readers, get from the story.

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Parts were depressing, parts were hopeful, but for me the depressing outweighed the hopeful. It made the book hard to finish.

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One of the best memoirs I have ever read. I laughed, I cried (a lot), I could not put it down, although it was a painful journey. Her writing is exquisite and full of feelings and descriptions that will stay with me for a very long time. She is a marvel.

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It is an unimaginable thing when someone we dearly love becomes terminally ill. In Joyce Maynard's The Best of Us, Joyce shares with her readers the sweet love story of meeting her second husband, Jim, when she is nearly sixty years old and all the hopes and dreams the two of them have for a long life together. Those dreams are dashed, however, when barely a year into the marriage Jim is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Before we reach that diagnosis, we get quite a long back story on Joyce herself and even a little about Jim and what their lives were like before they met, their first marriages, and their relationships with their children. When Maynard does begin telling the readers about falling in love with Jim and their marriage, it is a lovely story. It provides hope for anyone who has been single for a long time and still wishes to find a partner.

I struggled with this book. As much as I wanted to like it, the story had some serious stumbling blocks. Maynard is honest about some things that not everyone would admit to, which I suppose makes her brave, but I'm not sure I can say that I like her. I find it difficult to read a memoir by someone I consider unlikable. The book was also fairly repetitive. She mentions certain things so many times that I'm not sure she realizes she is repeating herself or if she just really wants to be sure the reader didn't miss the point. She really likes skinny dipping; her first husband somehow ended up with the dream farm she bought herself when she was nineteen; she loves to dance alone in the middle of a crowd, making herself the center of attention. Also the timeline is really wonky and their are no clear changes between the present in the story and a flashback, making it difficult for the reader to keep track. Finally, toward the end she mentions a Facebook community that has been following her posts about Jim's health crisis and the disjointed flow suddenly makes sense. This book sounds almost exactly like she has just printed out all her Facebook updates and stapled them together and slapped a hardcover on the front.

There were good things, too. I learned a lot about pancreatic cancer and about being a caregiver for a terminally ill loved one. I appreciate the author's willingness to be open and honest, but the risk in that is that the reader may not like what she has to share. I'm sorry I didn't like this book. I really wanted to connect with the author and her situation, but that just didn't happen.

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Brutally honest and inspiring tale of love, life and death, how all that happens in your life molds you into who you are. How marriage is an entity of its own.

See my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

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Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of The Best of Us. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

This memoir chronicles the life of author and journalist Joyce Maynard during the time period in which she met the love of her life. After divorcing years earlier, Joyce never thought that she would find love again, especially not in her late fifties. When she met Jim, however, everything fell into place. A year after their marriage began, a shocking cancer diagnosis for Jim led the couple down a heartbreaking path.

The problem with The Best of Us lies in the storytelling and not the story itself. Joyce comes across as selfish and unfeeling at times, with her focus squarely on her work and her travels to other places. Opting to take Jim on trips, despite the obvious threats to his health, Joyce seems to be more concerned with how the situations impact her instead of focusing on her husband. There are holes in the narrative as well, especially in regards to their collective children and Joyce's previous marriage. She never really explains why Jim's children never seem to visit or why she gave up her home to her ex-husband, despite having paid for it with the proceeds from her first book. Although Joyce does act as her husband's advocate sometimes, there are other instances when she seems content to let Jim be reckless with his health and his finances. Joyce Maynard went through a heartbreaking ordeal with her husband, yet I really did not feel her grief over her loss. Having read other memoirs that deal with similar issues, I was underwhelmed with regards to the author's ability to let the reader into her life. For these reasons, I would be hesitant to recommend The Best of Us.

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This book seemed a bit longer than my usual memoirs, but I did overall enjoy it! It's one I recommend reading, especially if you love Joyce Maynard.

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I truly enjoyed reading this book! I highly recommend this book to other readers to enjoy.

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This book really touched me as I am a widow and related to so many of her experiences. The message I took away from her very personal story, is that life is to be lived to the fullest as it is so very precious. Recommend for all ages but especially seniors.

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brutally honest first hand account of the life journey Joyce and her husband took upon his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer. A touching, gut wrenching account, but one that ultimately reminds us of the inner strength we all have and how two people called upon it in the most trying of times.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher, for which I am thankful. The opinions are solely mine.

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An amazing story of true love, loss, and being okay. Have the tissues ready.

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Ms. Maynard's story initially felt like a typical failed marriage/bad divorce saga with adult children torn between the two parents, persistent anger and bitterness, and attempts to ease the pain with a series of bad choices in lovers. Then the tenor changed with her telling of a complicated adoption attempt. Finally we can breath a sigh of relief when she meets a man and seems to have found true love at last. But that comes to an abrupt halt when he is diagnosed with cancer. From then on she poignantly describes a life turned upside down as she enters new territory as a caregiver. As she relates how their lives changed, we as the readers are changed also, learning to recognize what is truly important in life. As the author writes, "success, money, beauty, passion, adventure, possessions- have become immaterial. Breathing would be enough." Read this book if you want your assumptions about life and death to be challenged and changed.

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I could not finish this. It was recycle - recycle of the same content.

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A candid examination of Maynard' s relationship late in life and the death of her husband due to cancer. Maynard writes in a way that you can relate to her and feel her love, frustration and subsequent pain. She shares her adoption of her Ethiopian daughters, her travels and her dreams. A good book to get to know her.

Copy provided by the Publisher

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The Best of Us by Joyce Maynard is a new memoir by a bestselling author. In this book, she tells of finding love later in life and the tragedy that befalls them. The author is a great storyteller and people who enjoy reading about other people’s life stories would enjoy this book. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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