Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for a free digital copy to review – all opinions are my own!
Joyce Maynard takes us on an emotional roller coaster ride in her book, The Best of Us (read synopsis here). The book is painfully honest and the reader really gets a sense of Maynard’s deep love and adoration for her husband. Within eighteen months of their marriage, her husband is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The disease progresses quickly and three weeks shy of their three-year anniversary, her husband passes away.
I enjoyed The Best of Us. As I’ve said here, here, and here, I’m always drawn to books with this subject as the main topic. I feel like reading different caretaker’s perspectives really helps me understand and remember some of my thoughts and feelings as I watched my own mother battle this horrific disease. While I didn’t lose my spouse to cancer, there are still many parallels that seem to continually surface when I read these types of stories that are relative to my own journey through cancer. I appreciate Maynard’s honesty; she truly puts her heart on the page. There were many times I was trying to blink back tears – slightly awkward and uncomfortable when on an airplane surrounded by strangers! But that’s also the sign good writing!
There were times where I felt like the story dragged on a little to long. Maynard is a writer by trade so it’s clearly not hard for her to create very descriptive, heavily detailed paragraphs. Some of it was fine, but it also tended to drag me away emotionally because it was just too dense and didn’t add anything significant to the overall story. At almost 450 pages, I was just ready for the story to wrap up.
Overall, The Best of Us is a very touching tribute to the power of love, connection, and the ultimate promise one can make to another person – in sickness and in health. It’s deep and emotional and will make you appreciate the hope one has when faced with death.