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
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:
-----5 Star Review by Tara Forst
I am so very glad I listened to Banged-Up Heart. It is an emotional and heartbreaking story about how Shirley lost her husband, Joe, just to fall into a whirlwind love and marriage with her subsequent husband, John. After they marry she discovers that he has serious health issues that center around the rare type of cancer he has. As his health continues to decline, the plans that they made for the future begin to slip away and they are forced with some difficult decisions.
This book was deeply moving in so many ways. Shirley talks about the many issues and discussions that come about when your spouse is terminally ill. She masterfully illustrates her daily struggles from simply getting John to his appointments to getting him out of bed when he becomes too weak. There are so many things discussed in this book that I had never considered being an issue, but I am so glad that Shirley brought them to light in case I am ever in a similar situation. This is definitely not a “how to” type of book, but the various trials she encountered have really opened my eyes to how difficult end-of-life care can be without help (or even with help sometimes).
I was touched by the raw emotion presented in this book as well. Shirley does a great job of explaining her emotions and what she is feeling throughout, and doesn’t miss a single detail even when describing the memory of the last time she saw John. It was heart-wrenching, at times, but just as healing. Shirley’s resilience after losing not one, but 2 husbands she loved and adored, gives me hope for healing from even the most painful losses.
I'm sure this book is delightful to read, but the audio version really added depth to each encounter. The narrator's voice is lovely and heartfelt. I appreciate the opportunity I had to listen to the audio version of Banged-Up Heart and would definitely recommend others to listen to it as well!
----------Upcoming Blog Tour Dates
July 12th @ BreakEven Books
Today's Author Spotlight at BreakEven Books is on Shirley Melis and her memoir Banged-Up Heart - now available on Audible!
July 13 @ Bring on Lemons with Angela Williams
Angela Williams reviews Shirley Melis's Banged Up Heart.
July 14 @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Educator and Entrepreneur Cathy Hansen reads and reviews Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis. You'll want to stop by Bring On Lemons today for your chance to learn more about this touching and encouraging memoir (now available on Audible).
July 15 @ Lisa Haselton
Shirley Melis is being interviewed today by Lisa Haselton. Stop at Lisa's blog to learn more about Banged Up Heart, a non-fiction, memoir (now available on Audible), about finding the courage and strength to love again.
July 16 @ Bring on Lemons with Madeline Sharples
Fellow memoir writer Madeline Sharples interviews Shirley Melis about her book Banged Up Heart. (now available on Audible) Don't miss this heart felt interview about courage and love.
July 17 @ Jerry Waxler
Coach and Author Jerry Waxler shares his thoughts after reading Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.
July 18 @ Deb Blanchard
Teacher Deb Blanchard gives insight into "Banged Up Heart" the touching memoir by Shirley Melis (now available on Audible).
July 19 @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Don't miss today's interview between memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro and Shirley Melis. Find out more about Melis and her memoir Banged Up Heart (now available on Audible).
July 20 @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business owner and avid reader Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart (now available on Audible).
July 22 @ Memoir Writers Journey with Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler shares her thoughts with readers of Memoir Writer's Journey - find out what Pooler has to say about reading Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.
July 23 @ Bring on Lemons with Pang Papathopolus
Wisconsin professional caregiver and health care worker Pang gives her review of the Audible version of Banged-Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
July 24 @ 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.
July 25@ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles shares her review of Banged-Up Heart on Audible - hear what she has to say about this memoir in it's audio form!
July 26 @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte
Michelle DelPonte shares her review of the Audible version of Shirley Melis's Banged Up Heart today at Bring on Lemons. Don't miss this exciting blog stop and book giveaway.
*****THANK YOU WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING*****
About today's reviewer:
Tara Forst lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their young son. Tara owns her own business: Worn Forever - dedicated to helping mamas with babywearing and attachment parenting.