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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

Left On Tenth: A Second Chance at Life: A Memoir

Delia Ephron's memoir, Left on Tenth is a roller coaster ride of love and death, misery and joy. She opens her story describing the painful decline and death of her husband Jerry. His death follows not long after the decline and death of her sister and filmmaking partner, Nora Ephron. (Delia and Nora were best known for their collaborations on films such as You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle.) When Delia writes an op-ed piece for the NY Times about her struggles with widowhood and Verizon (who amongst us hasn't had an hours long and unbelievably frustrating confrontation with our phone company?), an old beau (whom she can't seem to remember dating) named Peter Rutter responds, and they begin a friendship which gradually turns into a deep, abiding love.

"Peter, I was learning, always heard what I said, and never tried to argue me out of a feeling."

Four months later, Delia is diagnosed with the same Leukemia that took her sister Nora, and she has to remind herself, "I am not my sister, my cancer is not my sister's cancer." Peter moves to NY from the San Francisco Bay Area, and they get married in the hospital, the day before she starts her chemotherapy.

It was difficult reading about Delia's cancer journey which included a traumatic bone marrow transplant. I had to remind myself that Delia would survive and go on to write this book, she was going to be ok.

"One day, I say in despair, 'This is rough. And [the doctor], staring down at me intently says, 'This is war.'"

All through the ordeal, Peter remains by her side, taking charge of her healthcare at her request, and her friends and family are helpful when they can be.

Left on Tenth is beautifully written, and I was riveted from the first page, listening to Delia tell her own story on the audiobook version. After finishing, I felt deeply grateful for my good health; I also came away feeling that if I am someday walking into an oncology ward, I would endeavor to maintain the steadfast hope and educated advocacy that Peter never fails to uphold.

Hardcover, 304 pages. Audiobook, 7 hrs 39 mins. ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 on GoodReads. Join our GoodReads Group RipeReads for more book recommendations for adults over 50! Click to order below, or better yet, buy it at your local bookshop!


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