Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Wave (September 20, 2016)
The author of the New York Times bestseller Broken Open returns with a visceral and profound memoir of two sisters who, in the face of a bone marrow transplant—one the donor and one the recipient—begin a quest for acceptance, authenticity, and most of all, love.
A mesmerizing and courageous memoir: the story of two sisters uncovering the depth of their love through the life-and-death experience of a bone marrow transplant. Throughout her life, Elizabeth Lesser has sought understanding about what it means to be true to oneself and, at the same time, truly connected to the ones we love. But when her sister Maggie needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life, and Lesser learns that she is the perfect match, she faces a far more immediate and complex question about what it really means to love—honestly, generously, and authentically.
Hoping to give Maggie the best chance possible for a successful transplant, the sisters dig deep into the marrow of their relationship to clear a path to unconditional acceptance. They leave the bone marrow transplant up to the doctors, but take on what Lesser calls a “soul marrow transplant,” examining their family history, having difficult conversations, examining old assumptions, and offering forgiveness until all that is left is love for each other’s true selves. Their process—before, during, and after the transplant—encourages them to take risks of authenticity in other aspects their lives.
But life does not follow the storylines we plan for it. Maggie’s body is ultimately too weak to fight the relentless illness. As she and Lesser prepare for the inevitable, they grow ever closer as their shared blood cells become a symbol of the enduring bond they share. Told with suspense and humor, Marrow is joyous and heartbreaking, incandescent and profound. The story reveals how even our most difficult experiences can offer unexpected spiritual growth. Reflecting on the multifaceted nature of love—love of other, love of self, love of the world—Marrow is an unflinching and beautiful memoir about getting to the very center of ourselves.
It has been a while since I read a non-fiction story that so captured my heart. From page one, I became emotionally attached to this story of two sisters and cancer's effect on their relationship. And I read the whole thing in one day, knowing I'd need to re-read it again and again to truly absorb its magnificence.
This book is about so much more than cancer and loss. It's about who we are in the deepest part of ourselves. I highlighted so many sections, but a few lines really stood out to me: "... someone forgot to tell us that our own journey never ends... There is always more to uncover, more to know, more to heal, more to love, more to give. Being true to yourself is a rough-and-tumble ride."
None of us should wait for death to force us to learn more about life, and this book is testament to that. I could run through a litany of adjectives to compel you to read this, but it'll mean something different to everyone. But I truly believe it will touch you in some way.
Rating: 5 stars
About Elizabeth Lesser
ELIZABETH LESSER is the author of The Seeker’s Guide and the New York Times bestseller Broken Open. She is the cofounder of Omega Institute, recognized internationally for its workshops and conferences that focus on holistic health, psychology, spirituality, creativity, and social change. Prior to her work at Omega, she was a midwife and childbirth educator. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.
Find out more about Elizabeth at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.
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