Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life

Little, Brown. Apr. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780316267656. $29. MEMOIR
In her new memoir, Ephron will make readers feel, and with her short sentences and matter-of-fact voice, she’ll make readers laugh, swoon, cringe, and cry, sometimes all within the same section of writing. The novelist, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter (she wrote the film You’ve Got Mail with sister Nora) begins this memoir with the story of her husband’s death, from his time in hospice, to her grieving afterwards; she also introduces all the people who helped her through mourning. While trying to disconnect her late husband’s phone line, she has a bad experience that she writes about in the New York Times. The essay sparks interest in a man from her past who reaches out to her via email; Ephron includes this correspondence, among many others, in the book. The events kick off a new love story that is the focus of the first part of the memoir; Ephron’s leukemia is the theme of the second half. Through her own recollections and through emails, readers get to see the hope and positivity of Ephron’s friends, as well as the despair she felt during her illness.
VERDICT With poetic writing, strong characterization, and a powerful love story, Ephron’s memoir takes readers on a journey of loss, pain, hope, and perseverance.
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