Marrow

A Love Story
Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (168 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The author of the New York Times best seller Broken Open returns with a visceral and profound memoir of two sisters who, in the face of a bone marrow transplant - one the donor and one the recipient - begin a quest for acceptance, authenticity, and, most of all, love.

A mesmerizing and courageous memoir: the story of two sisters uncovering the depth of their love through the life-and-death experience of a bone marrow transplant.

Throughout her life Elizabeth Lesser has sought understanding about what it means to be true to yourself and, at the same time, truly connected to the ones you love. But when her sister, Maggie, needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life, and Lesser learns that she is the perfect match, she faces a far more immediate and complex question about what it really means to love - honestly, generously, and authentically.

Hoping to give Maggie the best chance possible for a successful transplant, the sisters dig deep into the marrow of their relationship to clear a path to unconditional acceptance. They leave the bone marrow transplant up to the doctors but take on what Lesser calls a "soul marrow transplant", examining their family history, having difficult conversations, examining old assumptions, and offering forgiveness until all that is left is love for each other's true selves. Their process - before, during, and after the transplant - encourages them to take risks of authenticity in other aspects their lives.

But life does not follow the storylines we plan for it. Maggie's body is ultimately too weak to fight the relentless illness. As she and Lesser prepare for the inevitable, they grow ever closer, and their shared blood cells become a symbol of the enduring bond they share.

Told with suspense and humor, Marrow is joyous and heartbreaking, incandescent and profound. The story reveals how even our most difficult experiences can offer unexpected spiritual growth. Reflecting on the multifaceted nature of love - love of other, love of self, love of the world - Marrow is an unflinching and beautiful memoir about getting to the very centers of ourselves.

©2016 Elizabeth Lesser (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Marrow

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“ Love came first “

Once in a while you read a book that stays with you long after you finish it. This is one of those books. It’s a beautiful story about love between sisters and the lengths they go to for one another. I highly recommend this book, and in particular this audiobooks performed by Sally Field❤️

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Beautiful book

Elizabeth lesser is a beautiful writer. I enjoyed this book so much. Her writing was honest and I was able to feel her pain and love. And the reading by Sally Field was perfect. She read it unbelievably well. I am so thankful as she was able to give Elizabeth's words the justice it deserved. Powerful, gentle, loving story. Thank you.

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Good material not shaped into an effective story

This author had great subject matter but this was not well-edited at all. The compelling story of the sisters becomes a rambling abstraction on the author's own view of... everything. With solid editing, this could have been a much better book.

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A perfect match for me

(The first post did not have the correct 5 stars!) I learned of Elizabeth Lesser’s book while researching cancer resources for my sister. Then when a dear friend independently recommended it, I added it to my Audible account for the long drives I make when I go twice a month to spend a week with my younger sister who has diffuse cancer. Like Elizabeth and her sister Maggie, we are two very different siblings out of four sisters. We love each other but we navigate the world differently. Also like Elizabeth, I, for various reasons, am the lead caretaker though my other sisters are incredibly supportive. This memoir covers the difficult terrain of addressing these sibling relationships in the most poignant and scariest of times, when one sister’s life is threatened. I too am an ‘over-sharer’ and a nerdy researcher-both traits that Elizabeth uses to describe herself -so I completely identify with her struggles and doubts and raging inner debates and am comforted by knowledge. She is a gifted writer who finds ways to speak of the unspeakable: what if we do everything we can, even give our own blood,and it’s still not enough? Elizabeth tells of her struggle with imperfections and perfectionism even as she tells us the most important thing she’s learned from all the years she’s spent in association with the Omega Institute is that we are all perfectly imperfect humans- including even the authors of books about what we seekers are seeking. Examples include the humble monk with the huge ego and the marriage expert who got divorced. The point is not the great irony but the great human condition of being flawed and the life long struggle to accept that even so, we may be good enough. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more apropos read for myself at this very moment. It’s helping me immensely to sort my feelings and even feel my feelings and to find compassion for myself as I help my sister navigate her journey to do the same. It’s doesn’t get any more real than this. One need not have an ill sibling to benefit from this book or be inspired to consider whether a relationship with someone you’ve known from childhood might be well served by looking at our assumptions and patterns.

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WHAT A LOVE STORY IT IS💕

My brother in law died from lymphoma mid way through my reading of this book. A 2-month diagnosis. He was 44 and lived 2 months and 1 day. This book helped lots. Thank you E. Lesser

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Beautiful

This love story is so beautiful. I laughed. I learned and I cried. Thank you Elizabeth Lesser for sharing yourself, Maggie and your family in this most intimate way. Beautiful. ♥️

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This is now in my marrow...

One of the best non-fiction books I've ever experienced. There were times I ran to a pad of paper to write down an aching or joyous wording of something Elizabeth or Maggie said. There were times on a walk with my headphones on that I lost being present outside and was so deeply engaged it was like coming from out of the book itself when it dawned on me I wasn't within its pages. Painful, harrowing sorrow, soul touching beauty, family truths enlightening, humanity renewing beauty. This is absolute beauty. And it had to be exhausting and lifting to bring to life. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Elizabeth. And also kudos for the incredibly perfect choice of Sally Field for the narration. She's flawless in the interpretation of the words and emotions. Stunningly gorgeous love story.

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Be prepared to feel and cry.

Loved it! Elizabeth Lesser truly speaks to the soul of anyone who has sisters, 2ho has lost someone to cancer.

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50 % too long

Loved the concept / story line. Ditch all teachy preachy stuff. Just let Maggie die.

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Engrossing and Captivating

Although I have not experienced anyone fighting cancer for years and years, I feel like I am somewhat prepared a bit more. More importantly, i hope to be in the present more with my loved ones, both family and friends. Having three sisters myself, I could relate to the sibling and familial relationships and the healing thereof. This made the story even more meaningful to me. Sally Field’s reading of the book was so much more than I expected. It was likely the most exceptional “performance” of an audio book I have ever heard. Finally, there were just a few parts of the book that seemed to drag on a bit and I found that I lost my intense involvement for a bit. But it was quickly recovered each time. Will recommend to my sisters, but not my mother haha!

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  • Rebekah
  • 03-26-19

Wow

Beautiful, honest and revealing, helped me understand, love family and loss in a profound way

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  • Sleep Tech
  • 10-07-16

AMAZING

Probably THE MOST beautiful book I have listened to/read. Perfectly narrated by Sally Fields. Thank you Elizabeth Lesser 💞