Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage

Flatiron. Aug. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781250787941. $27.99. MEMOIR
Henderson brings a novelist’s sensibility to this memoir of her 20-year marriage and the chronic illness of her husband Aaron; she weaves their history with measured prose and emotion in alternating strands. Henderson (fiction writing, Ithaca Coll., NY; Ten Thousand Saints) traces her relationship with Aaron from their first meeting (she a senior finishing high school, he a music store clerk in his mid-20s), through its early years, the trials of her fledgling career, and his revelations of addiction and childhood abuse. The memoir’s second thread chronicles Aaron’s sudden reoccurring ailments: his stomach swells; his skin blooms with lesions that produce strange fibers; he swears he feels parasites infesting his body. Visits to doctors, specialists, and medical conferences provide few answers. As years pass without a solution, Aaron’s mental health declines, and the mystery of his sickness leads to Henderson’s deeper exploration of the nature of marriage itself and how physical and mental illness test and expand the boundaries of love and trust.
VERDICT An intimate, absorbing, and painful look at chronic illness in a relationship. Readers in similar situations will likely find it strikes a deep chord, but anyone who has endured difficulties in a long-term relationship will find much to ponder here as well.
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