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Publisher's Summary

In 2011, when she was in her late 50s, beloved author and journalist Joyce Maynard met the first true partner she had ever known. Jim wore a rakish hat over a good head of hair; he asked real questions and gave real answers; he loved to see Joyce shine, both in and out of the spotlight; and he didn't mind the mess she made in the kitchen. He was not the husband Joyce imagined, but he quickly became the partner she had always dreamed of.

Before they met, both had believed they were done with marriage, and even after they married, Joyce resolved that no one could alter her course of determined independence. Then, just after their one-year wedding anniversary, her new husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During the 19 months that followed, as they battled his illness together, she discovered for the first time what it really meant to be a couple - to be a true partner and to have one.

This is their story. Charting the course through their whirlwind romance, a marriage cut short by tragedy, and Joyce's return to singleness on new terms, The Best of Us is a heart-wrenching, ultimately life-affirming reflection on coming to understand true love through the experience of great loss.

©2017 Joyce Maynard (P)2017 HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A true life love story

This is a true love story. It's not a romance, although there certainly are many romantic moments, and it's not a tragedy, even though there is a great deal of sadness and loss. Anyone who has been in a committed, loving relationship will relate to this beautiful story of what it means to love another person without reservation. Beautifully read by the author, which makes the story even more powerful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I love Joyce Maynard- I'm a longtime fan

I can't remember how I discovered this author but I'm so glad I did. She has a wonderful way of creating images in my mind.
This is a very sad book, obviously, but I love her writing so much and she didn't disappoint.
Actually she focused a lot more on life than death in this book.
She certainly made me cherish my husband in ways that I often forget in the every day business of living. I only wish she could have had more time with Jim.
I googled to see if I could find any of her wedding photos and I did. They looked radiant and so happy only to have a very abbreviated time together.
Still, she writes about it magnificently, as she always does, no matter what she's writing about.
I love her narration. I wouldn't want anyone else to express themselves the way she does.
I've missed very few of her books and will eventually get to all of them.
I love this lady.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A moving testament

A moving testament to the human struggle to find love, and make sense of what happens throughout life. This memoir is personal to the author, but also to anyone with a heart. Read it, learn from it, and grow . Moving and powerful, gentle and true, it's a book you will not forget.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This memoir sizzles with great love and pain...

Having been recently made aware of Joyce Maynard through a Creative Live class she was teaching on Memoir,
I was immediately drawn to her and downloaded her book on audible which I could not stop listening to. As an artist and creative writer myself, I identified with much of her mercurial and independent spirit. But when the story takes a dark turn as her late in life soulmate Jim, found himself battling Pancreatic Cancer --- my past life as a caretaker to my own husband's horrific ordeal with a different kind of cancer came to haunt me like a dream. The depth of a great love, the intimacies and terror involved in watching someone you love waste away and the creativity it births to shape and fill that emotional void in order to make sense of your life, totally resonated with me. Both of our husbands died young (mine was 58, her husband Jim was 64), were both attorneys, had strong moral compasses that always had them doing the right thing, loved us fiercely, were special souls that were unfairly dealt a cruel fate. "The Best of Us" is a love letter to those who might be open to finding love again, living passionately with great abandon and experiencing the gift that sometimes, when we are open to receiving, miracles will happen.

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And then this happened and then this happened.....

The title of my review says it all. Disappointing read to say the least. Tragic story. Yes. But not helped by the (dismal) writing. At the end of the book, the author reads her wedding vows, saying that it is a "treat" that is not shared with people who "only" read the book. Unfortunately, the vows sound like an outline for the book -- there's not a single thing in them that the author hadn't already said, hashed over, or explicated upon in the body of the memoir. I've not read this author. The memoir was recommended. I myself wouldn't recommend it. I like to learn something from reading memoirs -- that's why I read them. If I wanted a recitation of events, I could have read the Wikipedia article.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Dark & Depressing!

The worst!
Oh my goodness does it ever end!
Reviews should say, for DEEP
Depression Please Read. Goes on and on and on! The worst ever! I even started jumping ahead chapters then many chapters. RUNNNNN

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I loved the honesty of real life

I actually heard Joyce on Dr. Drew Pinsky’s podcast. Something intrigued me to listen to the book. I enjoyed it. An eye opener to pancreatic cancer and how important every minute with a loved one really is.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Awesome first half of the book. Not need to read the other half

I would recommend reading only the first 50% of the book.
The moment it starts describing an illness you can stop. There is nothing new, only depressing moments that comes with a terminal cancer.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I wanted to love this story but....

I wanted to love this story because I LOVE love stories. But I didn’t. I found the author to be too self aggrandizing to be relatable. On a technical note, her overuse of certain words and phrases made roll my eyes many many times.

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I will never forget this book

Wow, what an amazing and beautiful love story. Thank you, Joyce, for sharing it with us.

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  • Mary Mullan
  • 06-12-18

Lovely, moving memoir.

Great narration by author Joyce Maynard. Touching story of finding love and then losing that person to cancer.