cover image The Urgent Life: My Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

The Urgent Life: My Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

Bozoma Saint John. Viking, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-0-593-30017-6

Saint John captures in this uplifting debut how personal tragedies and regrets shaped her vow to “live life urgently.” Born to Ghanaian immigrants, she married Peter, a second-generation Italian American in 2003, despite the disapproval of her strict parents. Their marriage foundered when troubles hit, including the death of their premature daughter after Saint John developed preeclampsia during her pregnancy. Her second pregnancy was successful, but Saint John’s and Peter’s mutual grief and cultural differences that were so hard to reconcile that t hey “created a valley so deep” between them that they separated with a plan to divorce. Then Peter was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and Saint John pledged to “no longer take anything for granted, not a love, not a moment.” She recounts the trauma of waiting for him to die, reflecting that “when you’re in darkness, instead of waiting for a ray of sun to appear, you sometimes have to find the light within.” That wisdom carried Saint John through the last days of Peter’s life, and she incorporated it into her career, as well, having held executive-level positions at Pepsi, Apple, and Netflix—where she became “the first and only Black person in the C-suite.” Saint John’s forthright approach and reliance on her spirituality are inspiring. Readers will be touched by this heartfelt message of hope. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (Feb.)