Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap (Hardcover)
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A routine procedure left novelist, memoirist, and poet Judy Goldman's husband paralyzed. Together is her unforgettable account of the struggle to regain their "normal" life and a nuanced portrait of a marriage tested.
When Judy Goldman's husband of almost four decades reads a newspaper ad for an injection to alleviate back pain, the outpatient procedure sounds like the answer to his longtime backaches. But rather than restoring his tennis game, the procedure leaves him paralyzed from the waist down--a phenomenon none of the doctors the family consults can explain. Overnight, Goldman's world is turned upside down. Though she has always thought of herself as the polite, demure wife opposite her strong, brave husband, Goldman finds herself thrown into a new role as his advocate, navigating byzantine hospital policies, demanding and refusing treatments, seeking solutions to help him win back his independence.
Along the way, Goldman flashes back to her memories of their life together. As she tries envision her family's future, she discovers a new, more resilient version of herself. Together is a story of the life we imagine versus the life we lead--an elegant and empathetic meditation on partnership, aging, and, of course, love.
About the Author
JUDY GOLDMAN is the author of two award-winning poetry collections and two novels, Early Leaving and The Slow Way Back, which was a finalist for SIBA's Novel of the Year and winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Fiction Award and the Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction. Her memoir, Losing My Sister, was a finalist for both SIBA's Memoir of the Year and ForeWord Review's Memoir of the Year. Her work has appeared in Real Simple, The Washington Post, and in many literary journals. She teaches writing workshops throughout the Southeast, and serves on the permanent faculty of Table Rock Writers Workshop. Born and raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Goldman has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, for many years. She and her husband have two children and four grandchildren.
"Together is a riveting account of a strong marriage tested when a routine medical procedure goes terribly wrong. Judy Goldman beautifully shows us the challenges and setbacks but also the triumphs as two people find strengths within themselves to create a new life together."
--Ron Rash, author the New York Times bestseller, Serena
"Part love story, part medical mystery, Together explores the rich terrain of a marriage during a period fraught with uncertainty and stress . . . a celebration of what truly matters in life: the power of love, the importance of forgiveness, and the necessity of accepting that some things remain unknowable."
--Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World
"Judy Goldman is that rare writer whose inward gaze forces her reader to gaze inward as well, revealing something both brutal and beautiful about the world in which we live. . . .I loved this book. I really loved this book."
--Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home and The Last Ballad
"In Together, Judy Goldman explores the many paths--both bumpy and blissful--that a happy marriage navigates over many years. Although a medical mishap sends Goldman on this exploration, ultimately she lays bare not illness but strength: strength of character and family and endurance and, mostly, love."
--Ann Hood, author of The Book That Matters Most
"Together . . . is part portrait of a 40-year marriage and part indictment of our medical system. Goldman's beautiful, deeply honest book is for anyone who has faced down change."
"An insightful, at times harrowing, chronicle of the ups and downs of marriage, and the many roles we play in one another’s lives."
--Library Journal, starred review
"Honest and compassionate, Goldman’s book is a life-affirming story that celebrates the grit that goes into making a long-term marriage work. A moving portrait of ‘young love turning into old love’ in the face of unexpected life challenges.”
“Goldman offers a tender view of her marriage and a suspenseful account of her husband’s frustrating struggle to regain mobility . . . this loving tribute to her husband and to the solidness of their union will engage and inspire readers.”
"Together is a story about love, provocation and the nuance of blame."
"Together . . . is a book you’ll read in one sitting. It’s that compelling, that illuminating. It’s a book that could make you see your own marriage in a whole new light."
--The Charlotte Observer
"With her journals in hand and her poet’s eye, Goldman records the emotional and psychological weariness of prolonged illness. But, above all, this is an inspiring story of how life can change in an instant and how the power of love and the support of friends and family helps through unspeakable challenges."
"It seems like the blueprint for a strong marriage. Goldman fights the good fight for her husband, and, in the process, discovers new facets of herself. This is the memoir's strength. At its heart, it’s about a couple. Yet it’s also about a woman who changes in order to be a better partner when calamity strikes."
--The Asheville Citizen-Times
"Somehow, Judy Goldman wrapped the story of a medical mistake into a beautiful memoir about her marriage and how love can change you . . . Finish the last few pages. Sit quietly for a while. Let the wisdom wash over you."
--The Salisbury Post
"Together is a blueprint for coping with 'mishaps.' Goldman skillfully articulates the communality of human experience, and she’s startlingly frank when relating the difficulties a patient advocate encounters. . . Together is about being married, about becoming a part of another person and building on the long-term relationship we enter into when we take our marriage vows."
"Please read Judy Goldman’s Together. This memoir is funny and heartbreaking. It’s about a role-reversing love founded on grit and determination, true as a heart-aimed arrow."
--George Singleton, author of Staff Picks
"Goldman’s Together is a beautiful, haunting portrayal of young love growing into old love despite the unexpected and stunningly swift changes life’s inevitable forward momentum can bring. This exquisite memoir doesn’t shy away from the hard truths of marriage; rather it confirms that marriage can mellow into something different, deeper, and far greater than young lovers ever imagine, despite crushing heartbreak along the journey."
--Michel Stone, author of Border Child
"Anyone who has found themselves unexpectedly immersed in a loved one’s battle to survive with all its complications and trials will find Judy not just an engaging writer, but an indispensable companion in the struggle. Together touched me with its humanity and honesty."
--George Hodgman, author of Bettyville
"Deeply moving and poignant, delicate and powerful, Together is a memoir about love and loss, acceptance and resilience."
--Tova Mirvis, author of The Book of Separation