The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying

Nina Riggs. Simon & Schuster, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6935-9
Riggs, who lives in Greensboro, N.C., was 38 when she was diagnosed with incurable metastatic breast cancer. The diagnosis comes at the onset of this moving and insightful memoir. Married to a lawyer, and the mother of two young sons, Riggs was initially told that the cancer was “one small spot,” but as the memoir progresses (the sections are ominously yet cleverly named after the four “stages” of cancer), the small spot grows and spreads to her spine. She undergoes a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, spinal surgery, and joins a clinical trial. During the same period, Riggs’s wisecracking and beloved mother, who had been fighting multiple myeloma for eight years, dies. Despite the profound sadness of her situation, Riggs writes with humor; the memoir is rife with witty one-liners and musings on the joys and challenges of mothering and observations on the importance of loving relationships. The great-great-great-granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Riggs frequently quotes her legendary relative and uses his writings as a guide, as well as the writings of the philosopher Montaigne, whose advice to “live with an awareness of death in the room” she takes seriously. In this tender memoir Riggs displays a keen awareness of and reverence for all the moments of life—both the light, and the dark, “the cruel, and the beautiful.” (May)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/06/2017
Hardcover - 389 pages - 978-1-4328-4346-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-5011-6937-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-5011-6936-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-4143-0
Paperback - 98 pages - 978-1-5484-9342-4
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