Nibbles & Bits, Vol. 8
Second and third chances and friends
It’s almost Memorial Day weekend, and I can’t wait for time with family and more time to read; how about you? This weekend is traditionally the beginning of summer, and for many readers, summer reading season begins. I don’t know about you, but I like to read light, beachy, fun books during the summer. I live hours from a beach, and these books allow me to escape and pretend I’m on a balcony overlooking the ocean, reading and relaxing my life away.
In a previous Nibbles & Bits newsletter, I wrote about a book's effects that caught me entirely by surprise. I hadn’t expected my reaction, and I was left to process my thoughts and feelings and unsure where to start. It was about friendship, and since then, several people have put books on my radar about friends and friendship. One of those books was My Glory Was I Had Such Friends: A Memoir by Amy Silverstein. I had never heard of this author or her books, but after reading the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book.
Silverstein received her first heart transplant at age twenty-five and, with the help of anti-rejection drugs, went on to live her life by marrying her sweetheart, finishing her law degree, adopting a child, and along the way, collecting the best group of friends who would be her lifeline in her future.
Twenty-six years later, she’s faced with the same decision again as her transplanted heart begins to fail. The book goes into great medical detail about why transplanted organs fail and why the drugs used to keep the body from rejecting the organ can cause a whole host of other problems (cancer) along the way. Many parts of the book were difficult to read, and I found myself in tears several times, but I kept going because of her friends.
The dynamics of this group of women friends, some that hardly knew each other, was why I decided to read this book, and it does not disappoint. These women came together to keep Amy company while she waited for the transplant and provided much-needed support to her, her husband Scott, and each other.
The book tells about the spreadsheet, goes into detail about each friend and their connection to Amy, and how each friend, separately and together with the others, supported Amy throughout the wait for a new heart. Conversations were shared, and mistakes were made; not everyone agreed with what Amy decided to do (end-of-life issues), but they were all there for her no matter what. Amy wasn’t always the nicest, but you couldn’t blame her after reading about the pain she suffered going through this. She drew me into a world I knew nothing about (organ transplantation) and presented me with the gift of what friends are and what friendship can be, and I’m grateful.
While the memoir had a happy ending, sadly, the medical problems that resulted from the anti-rejection drugs keeping her alive ended her life on May 5th, 2023, at fifty-nine years of age. Amy wrote this NY Times article (gift link) on April 18th, two weeks before she passed away, and tells us and her heart that they will both die in a matter of days or a few weeks at most. The cause of death (gift link) was cancer which she attributes to the post-transplant medications necessary to keep her alive.
Like most other Nibbles & Bits newsletters, here are a few links to assist you in going down the rabbit hole if you want more information:
CBS Sunday Morning video after her second heart transplant talking about the surgery, the donor and her friends
ABC Good Morning America video after the publication of her book
A short article about Amy from Well + Good about the power of friendship
I know there was controversy about her first book (Sick Girl) when it was published. I didn’t address it here because this isn’t about that book, nor is it about some of the things that were said that I think could be valid. This is about friends and the power of friendship, and I’d love to hear about friends and friendships that have sustained, fulfilled, and amazed you. You can tell me in the comments below.
Let’s keep with the friendship theme, and I’ll tell you about a couple of newsletters.is a Substack newsletter with an accompanying website and podcast. This is also the podcast where I first heard about the Pop Culture Preservation Society that I mentioned in a previous newsletter. Both have provided many hours of laughs and joy since their discovery.
Another friendship podcast I discovered, Friend Forward, provides a little more of a clinical approach to the subject of friends. Certified women’s coach, soon-to-be author, public speaker, and friendship expert Danielle Jackson talks about how to have more successful friendships in your life. She discusses things that can go wrong in friendships, how to identify the problems, and how to heal friendships that are important to you.
And lastly, if you haven’t already heard about it, check out Laura Tremaine’s newest book, The Life Council: 10 Friends Every Woman Needs. She has a podcast called 10 Things to Tell You, which includes several episodes related to friends and friendships around and since the book’s release. She has a vibrant community on Instagram for the podcast, and her personal IG account is also full of fun, bookish stuff.
I was so excited about last week's Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide event that I took Thursday off work to attend the unboxing live. And then, I decided to take Friday off because it seemed silly to go back to work for just one day before the weekend. Even though I read so much about upcoming books and peruse NetGalley looking for soon-to-be-published books, I found several books on the guide that I hadn’t heard about yet and promptly added them to my holds list through Libby. I enjoy being a part of the community and soaking up all the bookish joy it brings to my reading life.
I hope you have a wonderful week and have an opportunity to enjoy some part of the holiday weekend coming up. Be safe, rest and relax, and read a book or two. Happy reading!
Some of the links in this newsletter may be affiliate links. That means that if you click through and purchase anything, I may earn a small commission. This costs you nothing and helps me feed my voracious reading habit, and for that, I thank you.