What We Have: One Family's Inspiring Story about Love, Loss, and Survival

What We Have: One Family's Inspiring Story about Love, Loss, and Survival

by Amy Boesky
     
 

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The stirring true story of a woman who chose fearlessness in the face of a fatal family legacy and discovered the pleasure of living each moment to its fullest

At thirty-two, Amy Boesky thought she had it all figured out: a wonderful new man in her life, a great job…  See more details below

Overview

Read Amy Boesky's blogs and view other content on the Penguin Community.

The stirring true story of a woman who chose fearlessness in the face of a fatal family legacy and discovered the pleasure of living each moment to its fullest

At thirty-two, Amy Boesky thought she had it all figured out: a wonderful new man in her life, a great job, and the (nearly) perfect home. For once, she was almost able to shake the terrible fear that had gripped her for as long as she could remember. Women in her family had always died young-from cancer-and she and her sisters had grown up in time's shadow. It colored every choice they made and was beginning to come to a head now that each of them approached thirty-five-the deadline their doctors prescribed for having preventive surgery with the hope they could thwart their family's medical curse. But Amy didn't want to dwell on that now. She wanted to plan for a new baby, live her life. And with the appreciation for life's smallest pleasures, she did just that. In What We Have, Amy shares a deeply transformative year in her family's life and invites readers to join in their joy, laughter, and grief.

In a true story as compelling as the best in women's fiction, written with the sagacity of Joan Didion and the elegance of Amy Bloom, Amy Boesky's journey celebrates the promise of a full life, even in the face of uncertainty.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The cluster of cancers in Boesky's family had been identified by 1993, striking the women on her mother's side in the form of ovarian cancer through the generations, well before the BRCA mutations had been recognized. In this deftly wrought, engaging memoir, Boesky (Sweet Valley High series) tracks how she navigated her own decisions in light of her family's health history around her marriage and two pregnancies in her early-to-mid-30s. Boesky and her two sisters, who grew up in Detroit, knew that having children early and removing their ovaries by age 35 were essential to their life plan; their grandmother, several great-aunts, aunts, and a cousin had died by their mid-40s from ovarian cancer, and the sisters weren't taking any chances. Their own mother had undergone a complete hysterectomy at age 49. As Boesky chronicles her single-minded pursuit of marriage, fledgling jobs as an associate professor of English literature, first at Georgetown University, and the sense of urgency she feels at having her children as soon as possible, their mother has a small breast tumor removed, and five years later is diagnosed with full-blown, inoperable bone cancer. As a scholar of 17th-century English literature, Boesky weaves into the narrative the first uses of timepieces and watches as an ingenious leitmotiv and reminder of the fleeting nature of time, fashioning a touching resolution to this useful cautionary tale. (Aug.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101458938
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/05/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
897,782
File size:
501 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

A graduate of Oxford and Harvard, Amy Boesky is an associate professor of English at Boston College. She was one of the principal ghostwriters for the bestselling young adult series "Sweet Valley High". She lives in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, with her husband and their two daughters.

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