‘The Best of Us’: Joyce Maynard’s Memoir on Love, Loss and Life

I highly recommend reading Joyce Maynard’s The Best of Us, but just make sure you have a box of tissues. Maynard finds the love of her life in her 50s, many years after being divorced and raising her children as a single mother. She and Jim, her new love, had a wonderful connection and were enjoying life to the fullest. And then their future was shattered when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She stood by him, provided hope and continued to look for treatments and solutions until the end. Her love story is beautiful and devastating as she chronicles the time before she meets Jim, during their love affair and his battle with this devastating disease, and afterward when she must pick up the pieces.

The Best of us Joyce MaynardMaynard talks about the years being divorced and on her own, how she was looking for a connection and to feel that unconditional love, when she decided to adopt two girls from Ethiopia. Their relationships and interactions were not what she had expected, and after struggling to provide a good home and feel love from these girls, a little over a year later she chose to find them a different home and say goodbye. Then she met Jim and love blossomed. When he became ill she was his dedicated nurse and advocate. Her commitment to Jim is admirable and heartfelt, and with writing that is emotional and passionate she shares her personal journey.

Joyce Maynard had been vilified in the media for giving up her adopted daughters and in her book she talks about their challenging family life which makes clear her reasons for placing the girls in a different family. I am supportive of her decision and appreciate her honesty and candor as she revealed details about the difficulties of this heartbreak. She is relentless with her unwavering support and love for Jim as he wins and loses small battles during the fight and ultimately loses the war to pancreatic cancer. I admire her strength and courage as she stays by his side to fight for more days together.

Joyce Maynard has been through so many ups and downs in her life and she communicates her love, pain and everything in between through her life affirming experiences, written with great emotion and clarity in this beautiful memoir, The Best of Us. I highly recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Courtesy of Jim Barringer

Joyce Maynard had her first bout with fame for her writing when she was only thirteen years old – when she began publishing her stories in magazines. She transitioned into becoming a reporter and columnist at The New York Times and a regular contributor to many other magazines like Vogue. She is the author of seventeen books, including the ever popular To Die ForTo this day, she is inspiring people to write memoirs and runs workshops in her home to teach people how to do so.

 

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