Banged-Up Heart is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early—and of the strength it takes to fall deeply in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again.
When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then she meets John, a younger man who tells her during their first conversation that he has lived for many years with a rare but manageable cancer. She is swept off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and within months, made brave by the early death of a friend’s husband, she asks him to marry her! What follows is a year-long odyssey of travel and a growing erotic and creative partnership— until a mysterious bump on John’s forehead proves to be one of several tumors in his brain and spine.
The nine months that follow are filled with a life-threatening infection, three brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years and one week after their wedding, John dies at the age of fifty-nine. More than just a love story or a memoir of mourning, Banged-Up Heart comes down solidly on the side of life. It takes you deep inside an ordinary woman, her deeply felt grief butting up against her desire for more than companionship: passion, sexual fulfillment, and self-realization. It bears eloquent witness to the wild trust it takes to fall madly in love and risk profound loss—a second time. Ultimately, it shows that it is possible to dance with a banged-up heart. Praise
Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early, and discovering the strength to choose to love again.
It is a fascinating odyssey, a journey both creative and erotic as Shirley and John work lovingly together to blend their dreams—until a mysterious bump on his forehead starts them on a tragic struggle against the dark hand of fate. A graduate of Vassar, Shirley Melis has created an intimate memoir bearing eloquent witness to the kind of wild trust that can grow in the heart of an ordinary woman thrust into circumstances that few others must face. Now retired, she lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.
It was a joy to listen to Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis. The excitement of her beginning and sharing her personal story. It was a bonus to have this book available on Audibles so I could listen while driving, walking, and doing the dishes. Shirley shares the loves of her life, after losing her first husband, she finds an unexpected love. My favorite part of the book are the word choices Shirley uses when writing. Instead of using boring adjectives, she creates vivid pictures with detail oriented adjectives. As a writer, I found this beneficial and looked forward to her description of mundane or traumatic events because of her word choices, she made each scene welcoming and hopeful.
It's a memoir of love and loss, hope, and evidence that a couple can exercise give and take to fulfill both their dreams while creating new ones at the same time. I recommend this book if you are looking for true love and life examples.
Thank you Shirley for the opportunity to
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323