Atria - 2001
What's it About?
Most succinctly, it's about a last chance for first love. Myra is a visiting nurse who describes herself as the one who sold tickets to the prom, but never went to one. Her primary relationship is with her dog, Frank. In high school, she was hopelessly in love with a dreamboat named Chip Reardon. Now 51 years old, single, and never having had a serious relationship, she gets a call from her agency assigning her to care for a man who has come home to die from a brain tumor. It's Chip, and the book is about what develops between the two of them.
What was the inspiration?
I lost a great friend to cancer and one of his biggest regrets was that he was never able to sustain a serious relationship. He was handsome, charming, intelligent and so witty, but he just couldn't settle down with a woman. Near the end of his life, he asked me, "Don't you wish we could have do-overs?" I wrote this book as a kind of tribute to him, because it features a man with the same problem, only he gets a chance to fix it.
A random quote from the book
"I take in a deep breath, oxygenate the three hundred thousand air sacs in my lungs. Does he know that? One of the three bones in the middle ear is no larger than a grain of rice, how about that? I've got so much I could tell him. I look out the window at the black sky, at the stars separated by unimaginable distances. When he took my arm today, I liked that. I liked it so much when he took my arm. I make this thought into a shape, and sleep with it."