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March 26 , 2008

To Love What Is

A Marriage Transformed


A personal story of crisis, commitment, and hope from the best-selling author of Memoirs of An Ex-Prom Queen

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One day it happens, the dreaded thing that will change your life forever, the more dreadful because, though you've half expected it, you don't know what form it will take or when it will come, and whether or not you will rise to the challenge. For Alix Kates Shulman, it happened on July 22, 2004, at two a.m. on a coastal Maine island in a remote seaside cabin with no electricity, running water, or road to reach it—where the very isolation that makes it a perfect artist's retreat renders it as risky as life itself. She woke to find that her beloved seventy-five-year-old husband had fallen the nine feet from their sleeping loft and was lying on the floor below, naked and deathly still. Though Scott would survive, he suffered an injury that left him seriously brain impaired. He was the same—but not the same.

Each of us has imagined with dread the occurrence of just such an event outside our control that will permanently alter the course of our lives. In this elegant memoir, Shulman describes life on the other side: the ongoing anxieties and risks—and surprising rewards—she experiences as she reorganizes her world and her priorities to care for her husband and discovers that what might have seemed a grim life sentence to some has evolved into something unexpectedly rich.

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