26 February 2010

Featuring . . . Life's That Way by Jim Beaver

This Friday and every Friday for the next couple of months, I will be featuring a book that was published under the Amy Einhorn Books imprint. I am starting with the 2009 books and will spotlight them in alphabetical order.

Jim Beaver, the author of Life's That Way, has probably been to your house. Well, at least on your television, if you've watched Deadwood or Supernatural or one of the forty movies he's acted in.

Most of us think of television stars as living charmed lives, but, of course that isn't true. Rich or poor, famous or unknown, none of us is protected from the tougher side of life. Jim Beaver was one of the unfortunate--or was he?

Life's That Way is a modern-day Book of Job. In August 2003, Jim Beaver, a character actor whom many know from the popular HBO series Deadwood, and his wife Cecily learned what they thought was the worst news possible--their daughter Maddie was autistic. Then six weeks later the roof fell in--Cecily was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer.

Jim immediately began writing a nightly e-mail as a way to keep more than one hundred family and friends up to date about Cecily's condition. Soon four thousand people a day, from all around the world, were receiving them. Initially a cathartic exercise for Jim, the prose turned into an unforgettable journey for his readers.

Cecily died four months after being diagnosed, but Jim continued the e-mails for a year after her diagnosis, revealing how he and Maddie coped with Cecily's death and how they managed to move forward. Life's That Way is a compilation of those nightly e-mails. Jim's experience is universal for anybody who has lost a loved one. But Life's That Way is not solely about loss. It is an immediate, day-by-day account of living through a nightmare but also of discovering the joy of a child, of being on the receiving end of unthinkable kindness, and of learning to navigate life anew. As Jim says, these are hard-won blessings. But then again, life's that way.
Everyone who read and reviewed Life's That Way was affected by Jim's story. Here are three examples from book bloggers (click on the links to read the full reviews):

Kathy (Bermudaonion's Weblog): "Jim bared his soul in these emails and the writing is beautiful, emotional and sad; yet somehow it’s filled with hope and love. . . . [T]his book is painfully touching and emotionally draining, but oh, so good."

Rebecca (The Book Lady's Blog): "His remarkable ability to give voice to painful, intimate thoughts and terrifying worries are what make these emails special and worth sharing. . . . Life’s That Way is a gift of a book and one that will join Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking as a classic exploration of love and grief."

Elizabeth (As Usual I Need More Bookshelves): "Sometimes, you are lucky enough to read a book that changes you. It changes the way you look at life, and relationships, and the things that really matter. It reinforces what you've always know, and reminds you of what's really important. Life's That Way is that kind of book."

Jim Beaver has a website, where you can learn more about him, his work, and Cecily. Here is a link to a video that shows Jim doing both a reading and an interview.

This book was featured as part of the Amy Einhorn Books Reading Challenge (click to join the fun). For information about the imprint, please read Amy Einhorn's open letter posted here on January 25, 2010.

Life's That Way at Powell's
Life's That Way at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Putnam/Amy Einhorn, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780399155642


Juli 3/13/10, 7:29 AM  

I have to read this one!!! Sounds like a powerful book.

Elizabeth 3/13/10, 7:30 AM  

OH, how I want you all to read this book!!!

Rebecca 3/13/10, 7:30 AM  

I'm so glad you're featuring this book....I really can't say enough wonderful things about it. We should all be so lucky to find the kind of love Jim had for Cecily.

Beth Kephart 3/13/10, 7:31 AM  

wow. what a story. and I'm so glad that you are featuring Amy Einhorn books. I honestly want to know about them all.

vivienne 3/13/10, 7:31 AM  

Oh poor man! It sounds so sad. What a strong character he must have been to keep writing through his dark days.

Sandy 3/13/10, 7:32 AM  

Oh my, what a heartbreaking story! I absolutely must read this one. I'm starting to sound like a broken record, I know. I want to read all of these books you have highlighted!

Bermudaonion 3/13/10, 7:33 AM  

This book is really good, but be prepared with a box of tissues when you read it! (Thanks for linking to my review.)

Nise' 3/13/10, 7:33 AM  

What a powerful and emotional read this is going to be!

Devourer of Books 3/13/10, 7:34 AM  

This really never appealed to me, but blogger after blogger has been so enthusiastic I might have to break down and read it - especially since it is an Amy Einhorn book.

Nicolebo,  3/13/10, 7:35 AM  

Wow. I think I agree with Kathy that I will need to have the tissues handy for this one.

Jenners 3/13/10, 7:35 AM  

I keep meaning to put this on my wish list and then forgetting to. I'm adding it now ... thanks for the reminder.

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