At the age of 59, Joyce Maynard met the first true partner she had ever known. She married Jim Barringer on a New Hampshire hillside with friends and children gathered, fireworks exploding as they talked about the trips they would take, the olive trees they would plant, the food they would make together. How lucky, everyone said, that they had found each other when they did.
Just after their one-year anniversary, Jim was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And nineteen months later, having shared a struggle that consumed both their lives, Joyce lay beside him while he took his last breath.
The Best of Us is their story. Joyce writes about the early days of their romance, their wedding, their adjustment to living together decades after each had been divorced. And then, how everything changed during the months of Jim’s illness, and she began, painfully, to imagine a life without him. It’s a love story, but it’s also a story about seeing beyond the dream of romance and finding a deeper kind of connection.