cover image Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience

Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience

Allison Pataki. Random House, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-59165-5

In this powerful and immersive memoir, Pataki relives the harrowing year that followed her husband’s stroke in June 2015. “Does my right eye look weird?” 30-year-old Dave Levy asked his pregnant wife, novelist Pataki (The Accidental Empress), during a flight to Hawaii. Levy soon fell into a coma; he awakened the next day outwardly unchanged, but a part of his brain that coordinated mental activity had been severely damaged. Suffering from amnesia, he seemed like a different person to Pataki. “It was scary to see my brilliant husband’s body and mind kidnapped by this new, helpless, disoriented foreigner.” She began writing him daily letters to her husband “so that if Dave ever came back to me, he could read them.” With a faith embodied in the proverb “Through hottest fire is forged the strongest steel,” Pataki cared for her husband while raising their newborn daughter and often wondered, “How is it possible for my heart to hold such overwhelming feelings of joy and grief at the same time?” Interspersing details of Levy’s ongoing progress toward recovery, Pataki delivers an insightful look at how two people faced a life-altering test as a team “fighting to make the dreams of our future possible.” [em](May) [/em]