Banged-Up Heart: Dancing With Love and Loss
Banged Up Heart is a poignant memoir of life after the death of a cherished one, of letting go and learning to love again. And yet again. My heart went out to Ms Melis as I read. To lose not one, but two people so close in such a short time is a sad thing. Finding the courage to love again can be hard. Opening up to the certainty of future loss…well, I have no adequate words.
It has been a couple of years since Joe, Shirley’s husband, passed from cardiac complications. She’s ready to begin exploring dating again, but her first attempt is an embarrassing disaster with a man who shares waaay more personal information than is appropriate for a first date. Then comes John, who is smitten with her from the first–John, who has a rare form of cancer that’s been in remission for years. The two embark on a whirlwind courtship and marriage full of fun and travel. Sadly, it comes to an end too soon when John’s cancer returns with a vengeance.
I am particularly impressed by Melis’s ruthless honesty regarding her own infidelity and tendency toward rash action. To speak the full truth of oneself is a brave thing. Everyone has flaws as deep as their virtues are high. Both shape us, and we can learn from our flaws if we confront them head-on. I love that she acknowledged the Shadow in John and said she could love his darkness, his flaws, too.
John sounds like a wonderful person who encapsulated a philosophy I try (and often fail) to live by: to dance with life, dance in the rain, and accept what is. And for Shirley, I believe she learned the lesson of another philosophy I live by, one very hard to consider, especially in the wake of devastating loss: auguries of destruction can be a lullaby for rebirth. Destruction, in any form, always bears the seeds for new growth.
Some parts of the narrative did feel a little rushed to me. At times, the self-deprecation and internal perceptions regarding how fast the relationship with John was developing were a little off-putting to me, though I acknowledge that it is my own perception.
Recommended if you enjoy memoirs or need some guidance and inspiration for learning to let go in your own life.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Page Count||300 pages|
|Publisher||Terra Nova Books|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|