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.
Genre: Memoir/Non Fiction
Audiobook release date: February 21, 2019
Listening Length: 11 hours and 55 minutes
Narrated by: Laurie Bower
-----Review by Michelle DelPonte
I cannot begin to tell you how Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melvis has changed in me. Shirley lost her husband after a long marriage. She was blessed to find love again in John. After a short whirlwind courtship, they married. Devastatingly, John’s cancer steals their time and his life. As a mother of a disabled child, and a healthcare worker, I loved diving into Shirley’s point of view. Of course I read it in my head. Hearing the passion and emotion that this narrator put into Shirley’s memoir, has completely changed me. This lady kept me tuned in and interested, even after I knew the whole story. I learned to look at my residents in a new way. Their health and care, was not just about them, but also about their loved ones. I cannot thank Shirley enough for sharing this story with us all. This story is worth every second. It takes you through all the stages of dying and living on.
Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is available in print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound. The audio version is available on Audible.
About the Author:
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 WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING*****
About today’s reviewer:
Michelle DelPonte is a busy mom and health care worker. Her two sons are the focus of her life and she works diligently to raise awareness about autism in the community. She loves reading, anything to do with history and geocaching just to name a few of her many hobbies. Michelle, her husband Ben and their two sons Sebastian and Asher live in Manitowoc, WI on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan where they enjoy walking and biking on the Mariner’s Trail and spending time at the Library.