Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities

( 332 )


The bestselling author of Saving Graces shares her inspirational message on the challenges and blessings of coping with adversity.

She’s one of the most beloved political figures in the country, and on the surface, seems to have led a charmed life. In many ways, she has. Beautiful family. Thriving career. Supportive friendship. Loving marriage. But she’s no stranger to adversity. Many know of the strength she had shown after her son, Wade, was killed in a freak car accident when...

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Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities

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The bestselling author of Saving Graces shares her inspirational message on the challenges and blessings of coping with adversity.

She’s one of the most beloved political figures in the country, and on the surface, seems to have led a charmed life. In many ways, she has. Beautiful family. Thriving career. Supportive friendship. Loving marriage. But she’s no stranger to adversity. Many know of the strength she had shown after her son, Wade, was killed in a freak car accident when he was only sixteen years old. She would exhibit this remarkable grace and courage again when the very private matter of her husband's infidelity became public fodder. And her own life has been on the line. Days before the 2004 presidential election—when her husband John was running for vice president—she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After rounds of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation the cancer went away—only to reoccur in 2007.

While on the campaign trail, Elizabeth met many others who have had to contend with serious adversity in their lives, and in Resilience, she draws on their experiences as well as her own, crafting an unsentimental and ultimately inspirational meditation on the gifts we can find among life’s biggest challenges. This short, powerful, pocket-sized inspirational book makes an ideal gift for anyone dealing with difficulties in their life, who can find peace in knowing they are not alone, and promise that things can get better.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Short but surprisingly deep…It's a small book but a powerful one. And when you finish it you have not just a deeper understanding of Elizabeth Edwards but also a better appreciation for the strength of will it can take to survive.” –Los Angeles Times

From the Hardcover edition.

The Barnes & Noble Review
If you have picked up this book in hopes that in it there will be details of a scandal, writes Elizabeth Edwards in her avidly discussed Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities, "you should now put the book down."

Now she tells us.

That advice, which comes on page 171 of Edwards's 213-page volume, will not please readers who were inundated with pre-release chatter about Edwards's response to her husband, John's, disclosure, just after he'd announced his presidential candidacy, that he had had an affair. There were the juicy quotes from a copy leaked early to the New York Daily News, from which readers learned that, when John confessed to the affair, Edwards "cried and screamed" and "went to the bathroom and threw up." There was Edwards on Oprah, admitting that she had "no idea" if John is the father of his mistress's baby: "It doesn't look like my children, but I don't have any idea," she said. Then there was an "exclusive excerpt" in Time that included this illuminating passage:

He wasn't coy, but it turned out he wasn't forthright either. A single night and since then remorse, was what he said. There were other opportunities, he admitted, but on only one night had he violated his vows to me.... I felt that the ground underneath me had been pulled away. I wanted him to drop out of the race, protect our family from this woman, from his act. It would only raise questions, he said...the most pointed questions would come if he dropped out days after he had gotten in the race. And I knew that was right, but I was afraid of her. And now he knows I was right to be afraid, that once he had made this dreadful mistake, he should not have run. But just then he was doing, I believe, what I was trying to do: hold on to our lives despite this awful error in judgment.

Right there, in one single paragraph, you've got deceit, betrayal, regret, even forgiveness. Surely, there are more tantalizing tidbits to be found in the book?

Well, yes and no. The book's ripe revelations about John's affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter -- or his "indiscretion," as Edwards, who pointedly declines to utter Hunter's name, unvaryingly calls it -- have, in fact, been pretty well picked over at this point. So while there's something deeply sympathetic about, say, Edwards's scorn for Hunter's "You are so hot" opening line -- "If you had asked me to wager that house we were building on whether my husband of then twenty-eight years would have responded to a come-on line like that, I would have said no" -- we've already watched her have a good, derisive chuckle over it on daytime TV. Enough already.

But once we stop indulging in repeat trips to the scandal snack bowl, we might also find some meatier insights to chew over. After all, her husband's infidelity and deception is only one of the difficulties life has thrown Edwards's way. Her struggle to regain her footing following the death of her teenage son, Wade, in a car crash in 1996, and her own battle with cancer, initially diagnosed immediately after John lost his vice presidential bid in 2004 and detected again shortly after he'd decided to make a second White House run, are also explored in depth here.

One counterintuitive revelation: While we think of the pressures of a public life as merely adding to psychological stress, Edwards has repeatedly taken great comfort from her connections with strangers. After spending months visiting Wade's grave daily, burying her nose in the bed sheets that still carried his smell, looking in closets and opening drawers in grief-addled hope of somehow finding him -- "Drawers! He was six feet tall," she ruefully marvels -- she eventually discovers online grief groups and begins to rebuild her life with the help of people she has never met. And after going public with her cancer diagnosis, she read each and every one of the 65,000 emails and 30,000 pieces of snail mail from supporters, tucking their good wishes around her along with the handmade quilts and knit caps they sometimes enclosed.

But while cancer and the death of a child elicit expressions of support and gestures of comfort, marital infidelity is another story. Though she had worked hard to come off well in her public persona, making sure she was up on the issues and campaign talking points, trying to remain grounded in the "fish-eye lens" of celebrity, after news of the affair broke, Edwards writes, she "felt thoroughly and publicly humiliated."

So why did she stick with her ambitious, unfaithful mate? Why did she continue to campaign by his side, even when that, in a sense, implicated her in his deceit (some voters and staffers trusted him because they trusted her)? Her answer may reveal something about all those political couples -- the Clintons, the Spitzers, the Vitters, to name just three -- who've remained together in the wake of betrayals and public shaming. "We were lovers, life companions, crusaders, side by side, for a vision of what the country could be, and we were an old married couple," she explains:

And that part about crusading together, it was the glue...and with the strength of these battles in which we were so clearly united, we would regain our strength. I grabbed hold of it. I needed to. I needed him to stand with me, and although I no longer knew what I could trust between the two of us, I knew I could trust in our work together.

Some people stay together for the children and some, one supposes, do it for the electorate. But Edwards also admits, "I was holding on to the life I wanted, even if the life I had was clearly less than what I wanted it to be." This is all too easy to understand -- who among us hasn't carried on knowing something (a relationship, a job, a home) was less than perfect simply because it was easier to do so than to make a change as our community looked on?

Edwards's book is full of quotations meant to inspire -- she references everything from the movie Groundhog Day to Stephen Sondheim to Ovid to the poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen to a friend's fortune cookie ("You cannot change the wind, but you can adjust the sails") -- but even those of us who resist coffee mug–worthy sayings may find ourselves impressed, as ever, by Edwards's candor. She doesn't always come off well here, but she always comes across as human. And if we like her a bit less when, say, she paints a portrait of the perfect family decorating the Christmas tree (albeit while pointing out the hidden imperfections), we forgive her when she confesses, "One of the reasons that I spend time labeling baskets and organizing Christmas ornaments is that I have tried to create a world for my family that will last longer than the years I now have left." Her willingness to uncover her fears, doubts, flaws, and motivations, which often reflect our own, accomplishes what she presumably set out, in part, to do with this book: rebuild our regard for her. After all, though Tennessee Williams is not among the many writers quoted in Resilience, Edwards has always depended on the kindness of strangers. --Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter, a former editor and senior writer for Salon, has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Glamour, Marie Claire, Wine Spectator, and American Journalism Review, among other publications.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767931564
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/29/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 341,932
  • Product dimensions: 7.58 (w) x 5.12 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH EDWARDS is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Saving Graces. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her two youngest children and husband, John.

From the Hardcover edition.

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First Chapter

chapter 1

I stood at the sink in an impossibly bright hospital room washing my face, washing away the heat that, with the doctor's words, had come rushing to my face and neck and chest to fill every pore, to gather in the corners of my eyes and to line my lips and thicken my tongue. "He will never walk, his brain is dead," the doctor had said. It still burned. How much cold water would it take to take the hot sting out of those words? My father lay immobile behind me, a crisp sheet folded neatly across his chest, the crease apparently to be forever perfect above his forever-still form. I had not been able to bear to see him like that any longer, so I had turned away and instead watched my own warped reflection in the metal mirror that seemed to mimic the distortions within me. The doctor's words were all I could hear inside my head, but they were too immense, too life-changing to stay in my head. They spilled out and filled the room, bouncing back from the walls and the metal me in the mirror, and with every echo a new torment: He will not walk. His brain is dead. He will not walk. His brain is dead. . . . I kept cupping water to my face, unable to cool the heat but equally unable to stop trying. The day before, this solid man who would be seventy in four days, who still had cannonballs for shoulders and the calf muscles of a twenty-fiveyear-old fullback, had fallen over while eating a salad for dinner. He had played tennis in the morning and had gone biking in the afternoon. He came in to dinner after planting spring flowers in the yard. Every minute of his day was a test of his body, a test he passed over and over again. And then, with no warning, a massive stroke, and he could not move from the floor. I was forty years old, and I had never seen him fail at a single physical thing he had tried to do. Not once in forty years. I closed my eyes as I cupped the water, and the images of my well father, strong and full of life, gathered on top of one another. Eating a hot pepper from his garden in Naples and thinking it a green pepper, his face goes flush, tears fill his eyes, his glasses fog up, but he chews on. And then, grinning at his astonished family, he gets up and picks another. The awestruck faces of the enlisted men he commanded in Japan when he came out of the pool into which they had thrown him and, with his soaking wet flight suit clinging to him, they saw his supremely muscled form outlined. News that he had made captain had come in while he was on an early-morning flight, so when he stepped out of the jet in his flight suit, his squadron had rallied around him cheering and had thrown him into the pool in giddy celebration. I always suspected that the vision of him earned him a respect from those enlisted men that morning that the additional stripe on his sleeve would not have won him. I had sat with him at Bethesda Naval Hospital when he had four discs in his spine fused, the final remedy two decades after his back was injured when the wheels on the jet he was getting ready to pilot collapsed beneath the plane on the tarmac. He should have been groggy and still in the hours after recovery, but he was smiling at everyone, and teasing the nurses by pretending to smoke an endless series of imaginary cigarettes. Within weeks, he was back on his bicycle, and within months, he was back on the tennis court. There was the time his nose was flattened in college in a football game. The doctors said it was so crushed that he could choose whatever shape he wanted since they were starting from scratch. So he chose the shape he had had before. And he took up lacrosse, and he was an all-American his first year. He used to lift women up -- my mother and her friends -- and twirl them head over heels like batons. Proper women in 1950s shirtwaists ignored the fact that their garter belts had been on display, and they giggled to be treated as girls again. He carried my brother, my sister, and me all at once on his wide shoulders upstairs to bed when we were youngsters as if we were stuffed animals. Now, impossibly, he lay dying behind me, unable to move, unable to speak. The doctor had called us into the room to tell us. My sister sat with her arm around my mother. My brother sat holding our father's hand. I stood at the foot of the bed, my eyes on my father's still face, not on the doctor I had never seen before. Each of us cried, not in a wailing way, but in low, lonely moans. The doctor talked on about the effect of the stroke on the blood flow to his brain, and we each half-listened, for truthfully nothing after "his brain is dead" could penetrate. Tracks of silent tears covered all of our cheeks. When the doctor left, we all hugged one another, grieving our collective loss and our individual ones, then everyone else left the room. I had to tell my children, ten-year-old Wade and eight-year-old Cate, where they waited in the hall with their father. And I had to wash my face before I would tell them. I could clean the tear tracks, but the heat would not go away. I gave up and turned to leave and face the children. As I turned, I looked again at my father, but now he was looking back. He was still immobile, his huge bulk still pinned beneath the tight sheets, but his eyes were open. Not just open but wide dishes of panic. He could not speak. And yet he did. We stood staring at one another-I haven't any idea how long-and he said, or his eyes said, I am here. I am not dead. I am here. I want to live. I answered back in words. "Don't worry," I said. "We know. We are not giving up on you." And I marched past my family to the nurses' station and told them that that doctor was not allowed back into my father's room under any circumstances. This was April 18, 1990. We buried my father in April of 2008. Oh, his body kept failing him, little by little until the last of him slipped away eighteen years later. But in between he learned to drive again (in a fairly frightening fashion), and drove until his response time was demonstrably too slow and we could not let him drive any longer. He talked again, in an odd and sometimes inappropriately scatalogical way -- "the boobs are boiling" -- but still making people smile, until he no longer could talk easily, and losing confidence in his voice, he started talking again with his eyes. He danced with my mother for nearly a dozen more years. He never biked or played tennis again, but he traveled. He went to Poland and Spain, he took a cruise and watched the whales off the Alaskan coast. He voted for his son-in-law for vice president of the United States. And he was there to bury his oldest grandson -- my firstborn. But he was also there to hold four more grandchildren -- Ty and Louis and Emma Claire and Jack -- and even two great-grandchildren -- Anna and Zachary -- who were born after his stroke. In the end, he was surrounded by family -- his wife of nearly sixty years, his children and grandchildren, his sister and her children -- when finally, of his own will, he quit fighting and let go. There were times in the eighteen years more that he lived when he wanted to give up, when he didn't want to keep fighting to drive or to dance or to live. I remember sitting with him once after my son Wade died. We were going through a workbook his rehabilitation therapist had assigned him. I would read; he would answer questions. He got them right at first, and then he started to miss them, a few at first and then all of them. His frustration mounted, and he finally said with awkward resignation that he was a burden he promised himself he would never be and he would just as soon die. I was stunned and angry. I wanted him to live so badly; how could he not want it, too? If you could have Wade back, I asked, but only in your exact condition, no better, would you take him? He raised his head a little, and his deep brown eyes met mine. He nodded. Then you understand how we feel. We know it is not perfect, but nothing really ever is. I reached for his hand and told him you are here, and that is what I want. And, I added, if you think this is getting you out of finishing this assignment, you are wrong. He opened his mouth. It was not the wide smile I remembered, but the gap between his two front teeth showed, and that was smile enough for me. There is nothing about resilience that I can say that my father did not first utter silently in eighteen years of living inside a two-dimensional cutout of himself. From the first moment when he forced open his eyes to tell me that he was alive, through all the setbacks of a body on which he had relied that subsequently failed him little by little, he held on to whatever he had, however meager it was. He managed somehow to turn whatever he held on to into precisely what he needed to survive. When in the first year he had the audacity to tell the rehabilitation counselor that he wanted to drive, or when in the eighth year he danced with my mother, or when in year sixteen he unabashedly flirted with the aide at the assisted-living center, he was saying to the world what he said to me in 1990: I understand that it will not be all I crave, but I want to live. And so he did. When he could no longer drive himself, he wanted to walk. When he could no longer walk himself, he wanted a wheelchair that he could manage himself. He kept narrowing his life and his expectations to what he had left, and in doing so -- no matter how small his world -- he always reflected the sheer majesty of living. Too many times I have had to use my father's strength -- or my mother's grace as she stood beside him -- as a touchstone. I suspect we each have someone like him, someone whose personal courage in the face of impossible odds inspires us to do something we thought we could not do, who reminds us that what seems like a mountain in front of us can in fact be climbed. My father was an imperfect man in many ways, but maybe it was better that he was imperfect and that I knew he was, for I learned that perfection was not a requirement of resilience. This was Dad, and if he could decide to live, so could I.

Excerpted from RESILIENCE: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities by Elizabeth Edwards Published by Broadway Books Copyright © 2009 by Elizabeth Edwards
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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Elizabeth Edwards

How did you find the courage to write this book?

I am not certain courage is the right word. Maybe defiance is a more accurate description. When I first decided to write the book, I thought I had found my balance enough to write it. But between that time and the actual writing I was knocked off the beam again. I thought I could not write, but then it seemed that if I let obstacles take part of my life, or my voice away, I had lost the struggle I was trying to win. If there was courage in there somewhere, it was wrapped fully in defiance.

How did the experience of writing Resilience compare to the writing of Saving Graces?

Writing a chronological narrative was a much easier experience. Although there were certainly difficult subjects in Saving Graces, it was also almost joyful to write -- like a trip down memory lane. Resilience was much more difficult because I had to focus all my energies on those difficulties.

Is it a relief to be out of the political realm, or do you miss it? What advice would you have for the new president and first lady about being resilient?

I have only my own example as advice, which is an example I hope that the Obamas will never be in a position to follow. I do miss the opportunity to talk to people about their real-life problems. I still talk about health care as a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, so I get my political "fix" that way.

How were you shaped by living abroad as a child? What did it teach you about the universal nature of resilience -- the common threads that transcend cultural differences?

Resilience is so much easier if what we are talking about is having a problem but getting to deal with that problem in our home or apartment in the United States, having clean water and public schools. Living abroad has given me both an appreciation of what we have here and a perspective on my own struggles, which, when viewed against all of life's struggles everywhere, are small indeed.

It was brave of you to write so candidly about the deep hurt you felt when you learned of your husband's indiscretion. Did you consider omitting those scenes from Resilience? What do you hope that readers (perhaps those who have been in your shoes) will take away from your experience?

I knew that it would be a form of dishonesty to omit those pains. I considered not writing the book at all -- in fact, I had decided not to write -- because I did not want to reopen the story. When I settled on writing only my part of the story, I felt I might try to write something with which others -- those who have experienced from my viewpoint or from my husband's -- might relate and from which they could derive some understanding or comfort.

You freely admit to being sensitive and sentimental, enjoying the beautiful lyrics of music from your parents' generation and savoring poignant lines of poetry. What would you say to those who think that being emotional interferes with resilience?

I am a believer in doing what you need to do to get through life's obstacles. If I wanted to sit and listen to This Shirt by Mary Chapin Carpenter, which I always had queued up on the CD player in the car when I picked Wade up from school (we didn't agree on much music, but we agreed on that song), then I should do that. It is only when someone gets stuck in the emotional, allowing the emotional escape to be a permanent denial, that a problem can arise. But not allowing your emotions to have their day is just as problematic.

In the book, you describe how your spiritual life has been transformed in recent years. How has your illness affected your fundamental outlook on life?

What my illness has taught me is less about my view of life (I learned all I needed to learn about the preciousness of life at Wade's death); it more about the incredible strength and humor and resilience of the women and men who share my disease. It has been a blessing to be part of this supportive, beautiful sisterhood.

You recall a luncheon at the Cleveland City Club, where a woman whispered to you that she had found a lump in her breast but had no insurance and therefore couldn't afford to get it checked. This inspired you to become more vocal in supporting healthcare for the uninsured. What do you recommend for readers who want to help with this cause and "fix the system"?

As Congress starts to consider health care reform, it is important to make our views known. The problem is that so many of those with inadequate care are the least likely to be in contact with their representatives. Write your senator, call your congressional representative, attend one of the town halls being held across the country, and tell them what problems you have faced and what you need from your health care system. Sometimes we think our own stories have no value, but anecdotal evidence of gaps and obstacles often have the most impact on the men and women who are trying to fashion a remedy.

You write, "I had to find a partner bigger and stronger and more important than my own cancer. I was lucky, for I had been dancing with that partner for years," a sentiment echoed in later scenes of your mother and father. How did your parents' marriage influence yours?

My parents were in so many ways pictures of resilience, each individually and as a marriage. My mother was a Navy daughter and twice a Navy wife. My father was a career Navy pilot. They each had a vision of service to our country, and in tough times they focused on doing that well, letting themselves heal in personal ways.

You describe what it was like to discover your mother's journals. What do you hope it will be like for your children to read Resilience later in their lives?

In a real sense I wrote this book for my children. There is now a myth about what their family has been through and I wanted, particularly because of my health, to write my own version where they see not salacious outlines but abiding love. They will also learn, I hope, that life is work. You cannot just walk through it, grabbing whatever you want. You have to decide what you want and what you want to accomplish, and then you have to get about the very hard work of putting that together.
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Reading Group Guide

Broadway Books Readers’ Guide

Resilience Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities
By Elizabeth Edwards

224 Pages • Hardcover • ISBN: 978-0-7679-3136-6
Also available as an e-book, ISBN 978-0-7679-3276-9

One of the most beloved public figures in the country, Elizabeth Edwards is no stranger to adversity. Many remember the strength she showed after her son, Wade, was killed in a car accident when he was only sixteen years old. She would exhibit remarkable courage again in 2004 when her husband, John, was running for vice president; days before the election, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After rounds of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, the cancer went away–only to reoccur in 2007. She was in the news most recently when the very private matter of her husband's infidelity became public fodder. At every turn, Elizabeth found grace in the face of anguish.

With inspiring words for all who struggle to find peace despite overwhelming challenges, Resilience is source of strength. Unsentimental yet heartfelt, Elizabeth’s words reveal the personal journey of a woman who has learned never to say never, and to face her worst fears with a combination of gentle soulfulness and steely willpower. In these powerful, pocket-sized pages, she provides moving testimony to healing in the wake of unspeakable grief. Whether you read Resilience with your book club, with your best friend, or in solitude, this little book is sure to bring great comfort. We hope that the following topics will enhance your experience of this stirring meditation on loss, and life.

Topics and Questions for Discussion
1. Elizabeth Edwards begins by recalling the day she was told her that her father was brain-dead and would never walk again. To what do you attribute his recovery? Throughout her life, what did he teach her about resilience?

2. Over a lifetime, how has Elizabeth’s view of the world changed? Did her childhood make her worldview realistic, or idealistic (or both)?

3. Discuss the story of Toshiko. How did she adapt to her tragic circumstances? What did she teach the Anania family, beyond music?

4. Elizabeth is a lifelong lover of literature and has included many meaningful quotations throughout the book. Which ones made you pause, or even earmark? Which literary works have comforted you throughout your life?

5. Elizabeth writes that in the aftermath of Wade’s death, she could not honor his memory until she first admitted that he had indeed become a memory. Her previous approach to adversity, steeped in logical solutions, no longer worked. What guidance does she offer for healing the heart when the mind cannot make sense of a terrible reality?

6. Elizabeth uses the metaphor of a blackboard to describe life and identity, recalling that after Wade’s death she felt as if her “blackboard” had been erased entirely. How does this metaphor apply to your life story? Which people, roles, and events are part of it right now? What has been erased over the years?

7. Elizabeth came to the conclusion that “God does not promise us protection and intervention. He promises only salvation and enlightenment.” How do you cope with the age-old struggle to understand God’s role in adversity?

8. The author describes being in Hiroshima in the aftermath of unprecedented destruction, and watching some of her friends bury their pilot fathers, or die in battle themselves. What did these experiences teach her about mortality? What is the best way to introduce a child to the impermanence of life?

9. Chapter five features a story written by Skip Smeiska in response to his family’s grief over the death of their son, Joshua. Revisit this story, considering the way the artist responds to being robbed. What does it take to go from wobbliness to “new invention,” as he did?

10. How did Elizabeth handle the transition from being a maternal caregiver to being a patient who needed care?

11. What was your reaction to the passages in Resilience that deal with John Edwards’s indiscretion? How would you respond if your spouse confessed to being unfaithful? How would you have fared with the added element of publicity?

12. Resilience concludes with a reference to cancer survivor Mark Gorman’s fortune cookie, which read, “You cannot change the wind, but you can adjust the sails.” What adjustments are described throughout this book? What does it take to become the kind of person who always finds a way to adjust?

14. Do you think there is much difference between the way men and women cope with adversity? Is one gender raised to be more resilient than the other?

15. Discuss the events in your life that have been the most challenging for you. What were the burdens and gifts of those experiences?

About the Author
Elizabeth Edwards is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law. She has worked in the North Carolina Attorney General’s office and at the law firm Merriman, Nichols, and Crampton in Raleigh. She has also taught legal writing as an adjunct instructor at the law school of North Carolina University. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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  • Posted July 5, 2010

    Barnes and Noble needs to fix this

    I bought the Nook, and then bought this book, for $1.99, why wouldn't I? SHe has a terrific story. It clearly reads above that there are over 200 pages. When I downloaded it, it was just the new Afterforward added. I'm ticked. I sold the actual book I bought late last week - not getting to read all of it, and then I get short changed? Apparently I am not the only one.
    Regarding the Afterforward - It was classic Elizabeth Edwards, a complete class act. I applaud her for her strength.

    20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2010

    Ripped Off

    I thought I was downloading the entire book. Fifteen pages is all I got and it certainly wasn't worth the read. Disgusted with Barnes & Noble for not clarifying to its customers what they were getting. This is a total ripoff. This isn't the only time B&N didn't notify its customers that this was not a complete book, and it's a bad policy on their part.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2010

    Rip Off!

    Who would willingly pay $1.99 for 15 pages? I hope the author is pleased with this because I doubt I will purchase her 'real' book. I had heard many great things about this book and thought that the "New Afterword" was something to identify the book from a book without it, little did I realize that it was all I was purchasing.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2010

    Thanks for the warning

    Thank you, fellow Nook owners, for warning me about this scam. It's bad enough when B&N tries to pass of portion of a book as a freebie. It's even worse when they CHARGE you for it and don't let you know it's only a portion of the book.
    The one-star review is for B&N, by the way and not Mrs. Edwards. Although I disagree with her estranged husband's politics, I wanted to read her book for her point of view. I was sad to hear of her death and that her children lost their mother to cancer. May she rest in peace.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    I was not disappointed with this book. I felt like I was able to get to know an honest and true person. Life is not easy, but it does go on and this only happens with our day to day, minute to minute decisions to continue to live. This book was an honest portrayal of that hard journey and a glimpse of a life behind closed doors. I appreciate that very much.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    I'm sorry some of you feel wronged but...

    I was drawn to this title because of the price but because of the title Resilience:The New Afterword I wanted to check and see if it was the whole book w/a new afterword added or just the new afterword. I try and always read the overview and the editorial reviews before I buy a book so I know a little bit more about what I'm purchasing to read and make sure its what I thought it was. It states very clearly in the editorial reviews that this is just the afterword. Since I haven't read the book Resilience yet (and I do plan to as well as to purchase it from BN) I decided to hold off but wanted to read the customer reviews for the afterword. I'm sorry that some of you feel that you were wronged but the information on this "book" is available and not hidden. Perhaps instead of being upset with Barnes and Noble you should be frustrated that the publisher chose to release this as an "ebook". I would be curious to hear from anyone who read the afterword and let us know if it fit with the flow of the book, what the time period of this was (did it come close to the time she found out that she didn't have much time left to live, was the tone hopeful, resigned or matter of fact....) this is really what I want to know and I hope that the customer reviews will return to this. I realize what I'm doing right now is no different but it would seem to me that if you have a complaint about something that you feel is misrepresented or wrong instead of bringing it up here why not email/call customer service instead and leave this space for reviews. Just my opinion and I will return soon with a review of this title.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    Resilience Disappointing To Me

    I thought that this book would be more balanced when it came to the areas in Elizabeth's life lately that I think would have required resilience in order to navigate the pathways--her cancer, the loss of her son and her husband's 'indicresion' as she puts it. Instead I found that the book focused on the loss of her son and the coping mechanisms that she used to move her through that dreadful period--while it was new and fresh and while it still hangs over her today.

    I was VERY disappointed that there was so little about her battle with cancer --so that others might benefit from her experience--and how she managed to face that along with everything else that was going on. Many women are consumed by cancer to the point that they can do nothing but live with their cancer. While I did not expect a detailed account of John's affair, it was hardly mentioned. I thought she would tell us more about how she responded and coped with the news---and conntinued be a supportive mother in a home where this was so raw and fresh. Therefore, thought the book was misrepresented and I was very disappointed.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Moving and Insightful. (ignore the catty media coverage.)

    This book was lovely to read. It is moving and insightful, and although it does not sugarcoat the tragic events in Ms. Edwards's life, its message is uplifting and empowering. It reads more like an essay or a series of essays than a play-by-play memoir of her life, which I didn't expect, but ultimately the book is more personal and emotional than even the most detailed tell-alls. Even though my own life is quite different from the author's, by the end, I felt very close to her.

    Which is why the negative media coverage surrounding this book really bothers me. That this book engendered any hateful "backlash" is ridiculous, and in my opinion, can only be a symptom of reviewers NOT reading the book or lifting and skewing quotes for their own agendas. Maureen Dowd is the worst example of this- her May 5th column could not have been nastier or more off base. It makes me sad to think this strong, kind woman is so misunderstood or maligned by these attention-seekers.

    Even skimming the book, it is clear that Ms. Edwards is not motivated by ambition, or revenge, or any of the ugly things the media has said. She does not "lash out" at the other woman, she does not "flog" her husband. Elizabeth Edwards is much more than a cancer patient, a grieving mother, or a struggling spouse. This book seems to be this kind, strong woman's wish to show that even when you are a victim of tragedy and hardships that are out of your control, that victimhood does not define you. You can adapt and grow and redefine yourself to find happiness.

    Ms. Edwards has led a life of extraordinary highs and lows, and she has genuine insights from her experience. It's an empowering story. I loved it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2009

    Elizabeth Edwards tells her own story

    Listening to Elizabeth Edwards share the pain and joys of her life is like sitting in a room with someone you have known for a lifetime and want to do something to ease her hurt. She is a beautiful writer and reader who expresses her thoughts and feelings like no other author I've heard. Don't expect this one to be a "juicy scandal". Elizabeth Edwards has too much class and sensitivity to get into that. Her book is a must-read...and even better, a must-listen audio. Highly recommend.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2010


    So excited to buy my first ebook to use on my ereader for iphone by Barnes and Noble, only to find out it is 15 pages of forward and no mention of that in the description! In my excitement didnt read all the other reveiws and apparently I am not the only one RIPPED OFF! I have made my LAST purchase from Barnes and Noble and now see why so many use Amazon and Borders!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    Real woman writing about real life

    Warm, touching, true to life- written beautifully
    Elizabeth Edwards is sharing her travels

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    My book club hated it!

    This book got the lowest rating of any book we have read in the past 5 years...a 1.7 out of 5. They thought the author was bitter and self absorbed.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Saving Graces is a better book

    In a lot of ways, Resilience is a rehash of Saving Graces in a condensed version with the exception of her husband's dillances being included. Saving Graces is a much better book. It appears the Mrs. Edward's is still grieving the death of her son, and to add to her burden, the "death" of her marriage as she knew it. I hope that she is getting professional counseling and not necessarily relying on her Internet friends.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards

    I enjoyed this book very much. It was well written and definitely from the heart. I am sorry this tragedy came into her life at the same time she is battling cancer, but she shows so much strength and courage. I would definitely recommend this book and I found myself reading it in a couple of sittings.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Don't waste your money!!!!

    I read alot of books and this is the absolute worse. Had this book been written by an unknown it would never have been published. This poor woman needs professional help. I have also lost a son and am very famaliar with the loss and pain. However it is way past time to stop grieving and for goodness sake celebrate the children already here This is especially important since her days are "numbered". Yes, I also have been living through the ravages of rectal cancer. This is a very depressing book and I would not share it or purchase it as a present.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Overcoming Adversity

    "Resilience" was the first book I had read by Elizabeth Edwards, and prior to reading it I had known very little about the wife of John Edwards. I was unsure of what to expect and thought it would be somewhat political. In reality there was only a slight bit of political discussion, but what I did find was a great book with personal discussions on how to overcome difficulties that one may encounter. Elizabeth Edwards is no stranger to overcoming life's challenges having watched the passing of her father, death of a teenage son, her bouts with bone and breast Cancer, and infidelity to name a few of the substantial challenges she has discussed. The end result is a portrait of a strong woman with deep support for her husband and family. A great read for those either wanting to know more about Elizabeth Edwards or advice on how to navigate turbulent times.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    A touching story filled with true life. Too much Redundancy.

    A touching story filled with true life. Too much Redundancy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012


    I had just finished reading Resilience and had enjoyed it. I thought this was an additional Afterward written after the book was pubished as Elizabeth neared the end. It was not. It was the exact ending of the book. Very misleading and a wasted expense. Disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011


    Like so many others, I too thought that this was an updated entire book - not just the new afterward. Since I am new to Nook - I learned a lesson to be very, very aware of what I think I am ordering

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    I would not recommend this book

    It is sad,and sad can be OK however I came away from this book feeling like I understood better why John cheated on her. ALthough there is never any reason to cheat and especially when a spouse or partner is dying I see that this was a very troubled woman for many many years. She lived with a crumbeling white picket fence around her and Im sorry but that never works.She lost it when her son died and really never came back. It is sad. I do not think I would want to have left this book as a legacy. In fact if I had written things like this in a journal I woudl hide it an dhope noone ever found it. I think she was a bitter angry woman and I always though she was strong and worth being like someone to look up to but now I have changed my mind. I do not look up to her. I only feel sad

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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