cover image Love Brought Me Back: A Journey of Loss and Gain

Love Brought Me Back: A Journey of Loss and Gain

Natalie Cole, with David Ritz, Simon & Schuster, $26 (168p) ISBN 978-1-45160-605-8

A second memoir (after Angel on My Shoulder) by singer Cole, daughter of legendary Nat King Cole, proves a stunning, uplifting, however brief story of her sudden diagnosis of hepatitis C and her subsequent need for a kidney transplant. In 2008, Cole, age 60,was told she had a serious liver infection, the result of a virus long dormant that she no doubt contracted 25 years before as an intravenous heroin user. She required weekly injections of interferon, a form of chemotherapy, which rendered her terribly ill and eventually shut down her kidneys. In alternating sections that make little sense at first before converging powerfully with the main story, a 32-year-old Latina woman in L.A. named Jessica suffered pre-eclampsia while pregnant and died in May 2009, her organs donated to an agency that quickly came to Cole's rescue. Successfully fitted with Jessica's kidney, Cole survived. However, there are numerous tragic intersections to this too abrupt narrative: the haunting death of her father in 1965, when he was only 46 and Cole 15; the loss of her brother, Kelly, to AIDS in 1995; and most poignantly, the recent death of her stepsister and kindred spirit, Cooke, during the time that Cole had been handed the means to save her own life. Grief battles with spiritual faith and transcendence in Cole's moving personal story. (Nov.)