cover image Marrow: A Love Story

Marrow: A Love Story

Elizabeth Lesser. HarperWave, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-236763-1

In this profound and ultimately uplifting memoir, Omega Institute cofounder Lesser (Broken Open) shares the experience of becoming her younger sister’s bone-marrow donor after the sister’s recurrence of stage-IV mantle-cell lymphoma. The procedure is Maggie’s only hope of survival, though it comes with risks. Early into the search for a donor, Lesser, one of four sisters, turns out to be a “perfect match.” Lesser takes readers through the sisters’ childhood in Long Island. The four girls are the offspring of “zealously unreligious” parents (a Jewish ad salesman and an English teacher raised by Christian Scientists). Lesser has always been “a spiritual seeker,” and Maggie, a nurse practitioner, is the more pragmatic sib. Whatever their differences growing up, the bone-marrow transplant brings them closer together; they even visit a therapist to confront any past misunderstandings and emotionally prepare for the procedure. Along with a memoir of family love, fortitude, and healing, Lesser offers advice on living a soul-centered life, on how to talk to cancer patients, on how to live with authenticity, and on many other topics. She also provides a fascinating explanation of the bone-marrow-transplant process. Though the subject is somber, Lesser’s outlook is hopeful and sometimes humorous; she describes the four sisters dancing in the treatment room, sharing reminiscences of their parents, finding moments to be lighthearted. Readers will be inspired by Lesser’s wise and loving approach to both life and death. (Sept.)