Joyce Maynard’s memoir, The Best of Us, is heavy. Physically heavy at over 400 pages. Emotionally heavy in its subject matter. From the back cover: “In 2011, when she was in her late fifties, beloved author and journalist Joyce Maynard met her soulmate. Then, just after their one-year wedding anniversary, Jim was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As they battled his illness together, she discovered for the first time what it really meant to be a true partner and to have one.”
The book was beautiful, and raw, and powerful, and honest. It touched me and moved me so much so that after I had to return my copy to the public library, I went out and bought my own.
This week, I’d like to share with you just a few of the passages I tagged while reading:
“I look back now on that day as one of the moments I discovered a small but significant truth about marriage: that it is in the act of surrendering the old, familiar patterns and all the things a person believes to be immutable that she may discover a new kind of beauty. Something better even than her old way.”
“Not all at once, but gradually, over the months, another revelation came to me: None of that other stuff, much as I’d loved it, was what made a marriage. Not restaurant dinners or romantic vacations. Not walks on the beach or visits to the wine country in the Boxster. Not oysters and martinis or moonlight over the Bay Bridge. This was marriage.”
“But the larger truth is, I am here. This is not the experience I wanted, but as with every other experience in my life, I do not intend to sit this one out, or to pretend for one moment that it isn’t happening. This is my life, and at the end of the day, I don’t want to miss a minute of it.”