cover image A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir

A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir

Edie Windsor, with Joshua Lyon. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-19513-5

In this insightful posthumous debut, gay rights activist Windsor spins a whirlwind tale spanning eight decades studded with glamour, bravado, and desire against the backdrop of Greenwich Village and the Hamptons. Completed after her death at 88 in 2017 by Lyon (Pill Head), Windsor’s account covers growing up in Philadelphia and, in 1951, moving to New York City and studying math at New York University. After college, Windsor worked at IBM and rose through the ranks; meanwhile, she frequented lesbian bars and met other women, using the same pickup line: “Tell me your name.... I’m Edie Windsor and I’m new here.” Eventually, she fell in love with Thea Spyer, a wealthy Dutch psychologist, and in 1966 the two settled into what became a four-decade partnership. Thea died in 2009 and left Windsor her estate, for which Windsor was expected to pay $500,000 in taxes since their union was not recognized as a marriage per the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Windsor filed a lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court in 2013 and won, paving the way for same-sex marriage (“I did not want the government to benefit financially from hateful discrimination,” she writes). Windsor’s memoir is passionately told and serves as a substantive look at her contribution to same-sex marriage. (Oct.)