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In Conversation with
Amanda Eyre Ward
ABOUT THE BEST OF US
At the age of 59, Joyce Maynard met the first true partner she had ever known. She married Jim Barringer on a New Hampshire hillside with friends and children gathered, fireworks exploding as they talked about the trips they would take, the olive trees they would plant, the food they would make together. How lucky, everyone said, that they had found each other when they did.
Just after their one-year anniversary, Jim was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And nineteen months later, having shared a struggle that consumed both their lives, Joyce lay beside him while he took his last breath.
The Best of Us: A Memoir is their story. Joyce writes about the early days of their romance, their wedding, their adjustment to living together decades after each had been divorced. And then, how everything changed during the months of Jim’s illness, and she began, painfully, to imagine a life without him. It’s a love story, but it’s also a story about seeing beyond the dream of romance and finding a deeper kind of connection. In Joyce’s own words, “This book is the story of how I came to learn, late in the game, what it is to be married, and to love a person in a way that has nothing to do with what he has to give you. It’s not about grand passion or extraordinary sex or the exciting, wonderful future you’ll create with your amazing, handsome, dashing partner. With my husband Jim, I found my amazing, handsome, dashing partner, but when illness stripped all of that away I learned what it meant to love without asking anything back, because the act of loving was, itself, the gift.”
ABOUT JOYCE MAYNARD
Joyce Maynard is the bestselling author of sixteen books, including the novel Labor Day (adapted for a film starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin) and the memoir At Home in the World. Her essays and columns have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Parade, and more. She is the mother of three grown children. A New Hampshire native, she now resides in Lafayette, California.
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