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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Penny Harrison Reviews "Banged-Up Heart" by Shirley Melis

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing, Penny Harrison, and Mari from Artotems as well as Shirley Melis. Without these amazing friends this lovely post would not be possible!


Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss

Review by Penny Harrison

I thoroughly enjoyed Banged-Up Heart by Shirley Melis. This book is an autobiography that was, I'm sure, not easy to write. Shirley's life was filled with great love and great sadness which led to the "banged-up" state of her heart. Through the pages, you learn about the two great men that shaped her life. Both would be with her for a shorter time than she would have wanted, but both men left her with memories and a greater sense of who she was and what she wanted. Her voice is clear and inviting and helps you to experience her relationships with Joe and John until you know these men nearly as well as she had. Touching, inspiring and truthful, the story told is one of a life lived to the fullest. A life with losses but also with growth and joy. I am grateful for this glimpse into her experiences and you will be, as well.

Paperback: 300 Pages
Genre: Memoir/Non Fiction
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 193828870X
ISBN-13: 978-1938288708

Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is available in print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.


Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early—and of the strength it takes to fall deeply in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again.

When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then she meets John, a younger man who tells her during their first conversation that he has lived for many years with a rare but manageable cancer. She is swept off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and within months, made brave by the early death of a friend’s husband, she asks him to marry her! What follows is a year-long odyssey of travel and a growing erotic and creative partnership— until a mysterious bump on John’s forehead proves to be one of several tumors in his brain and spine.

The nine months that follow are filled with a life-threatening infection, three brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years and one week after their wedding, John dies at the age of fifty-nine. More than just a love story or a memoir of mourning, Banged-Up Heart comes down solidly on the side of life. It takes you deep inside an ordinary woman, her deeply felt grief butting up against her desire for more than companionship: passion, sexual fulfillment, and self-realization. It bears eloquent witness to the wild trust it takes to fall madly in love and risk profound loss—a second time. Ultimately, it shows that it is possible to dance with a banged-up heart.

About Shirley

Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early, and discovering the strength to choose to love again. It is a fascinating odyssey, a journey both creative and erotic as Shirley and John work lovingly together to blend their dreams—until a mysterious bump on his forehead starts them on a tragic struggle against the dark hand of fate.

A graduate of Vassar, Shirley Melis has created an intimate memoir bearing eloquent witness to the kind of wild trust that can grow in the heart of an ordinary woman thrust into circumstances that few others must face. Now retired, she lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.

Shirley can also be found online at:




Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for allowing me an opportunity to participate in this book blog tour!

Be sure to check out some of the future blog stops on this tour:

March 2 @ Book Santa Fe with Tange Dudet
Avid reader and book enthusiast Tange Dudet shares her thoughts and feelings after reading the touching memoir Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.

March 3 @ The Constant Story with David W. Berner
Author and radio personality David W Berner reviews Shirley Melis's book Banged Up Heart and shares his thoughts with readers at The Constant Story.

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question - it's great hearing from YOU!

About today’s reviewer:

Penny Harrison is a mother of a vivacious 15 year old daughter, a wife of 16 wonderful years,
and equal opportunity crafter with a very busy schedule. In addition to her “day job”, she is also an independent consultant for a craft company and has a small craft business. She lives in a small town in Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan and enjoys her summers, “cooler near the lake”.

1 comment:

  1. Penny, thank you for your touching review of Banged-Up Heart. It delights me to read that you came away with a feeling of knowing both Joe and John. Each shaped my life in significant ways.