The Bright Hour
An exquisite memoir about how to live—and love—every day with “death in the room,” from poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the tradition of When Breath Becomes Air.“We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.”Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, even as she wrestles with the legacy of her great-great-great grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs’s breathtaking memoir continues the urgent conversation that Paul Kalanithi began in his gorgeous When Breath Becomes Air. She asks, what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?Brilliantly written, disarmingly funny, and deeply moving, The Bright Hour is about how to love all the days, even the bad ones, and it’s about the way literature, especially Emerson, and Nina’s other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer. It’s a book about looking death squarely in the face and saying “this is what will be.”Especially poignant in these uncertain times, The Bright Hour urges us to live well and not lose sight of what makes us human: love, art, music, words.

The Bright Hour Details

TitleThe Bright Hour
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 6th, 2017
PublisherSimon and Schuster
ISBN1501169351
ISBN-139781501169359
Number of pages288 pages
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Death, Health, Illness, Biography

The Bright Hour Review

  • John Duberstein
    April 12, 2017
    I would like to say my five star review is rooted in my own literary acumen and this particular book's compelling, beautiful, almost lyric prose. And the book is filled with beauty, lyric and profane. But since it was written by my wife, I feel like I have to come clean and say I'd be giving her five stars regardless, because I loved her more than anything. I love my kids a TON. They're amazing little guys, my favorite living people in the whole world, and I'd literally lay down in Boston traffi I would like to say my five star review is rooted in my own literary acumen and this particular book's compelling, beautiful, almost lyric prose. And the book is filled with beauty, lyric and profane. But since it was written by my wife, I feel like I have to come clean and say I'd be giving her five stars regardless, because I loved her more than anything. I love my kids a TON. They're amazing little guys, my favorite living people in the whole world, and I'd literally lay down in Boston traffic for them. But I'd swap them every day of the week for Nina. Sorry guys. Twice on Sundays. (Why Boston? Well, it may not be the worst traffic, but I think it's maybe got the drivers with the most mens rea of any city I've ever been to.).Seeing the book come together, getting to witness the transition from idea, to concept, to manuscript, now to nearly final publication, has been a treat not only because of the publication itself, but how much its helped me and my family focus on the important things Nina left us. Her talent, her wit, charm, beauty, and her complete refusal to let terminal disease ruin the few bright days she had left after her cancer ran wild. The Bright Hour will be a tremendous legacy for our two boys as they grow and learn to live with their loss, and anytime they want access to Nina, a huge part of her will be right there on the page. But I also hope as many people as possible will share in that legacy and get to know Nina as well as anyone can now that she's gone. And not just because of the loss at such a young age, but because of the amazing person she was and the tremendous talent she had for sharing her vision for leading a good life, even under the shadow of terminal disease. Trust me: She was the absolute best and it comes through beautifully here in The Bright Hour.
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  • Rebecca Foster
    May 29, 2017
    You’re going to hear a lot about this one. It’s been likened to When Breath Becomes Air, an apt comparison given the beauty of the prose and the literary and philosophical approach to terminal cancer. While I didn’t find it quite as affecting as Kalanithi’s memoir, it’s a wonderful book, so wry and honest, with a voice that reminds me of Anne Lamott and Elizabeth McCracken.It started with a tiny spot of cancer in the breast. “No one dies from one small spot,” Nina Riggs and her husband told them You’re going to hear a lot about this one. It’s been likened to When Breath Becomes Air, an apt comparison given the beauty of the prose and the literary and philosophical approach to terminal cancer. While I didn’t find it quite as affecting as Kalanithi’s memoir, it’s a wonderful book, so wry and honest, with a voice that reminds me of Anne Lamott and Elizabeth McCracken.It started with a tiny spot of cancer in the breast. “No one dies from one small spot,” Nina Riggs and her husband told themselves. Until it wasn’t just a spot but a larger tumor that required a mastectomy. And then there was the severe back pain that alerted them to metastases in her spine, and later in her lungs. Riggs was a great-great-great-granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and she quotes from her ancestor’s essays as well as from Michel de Montaigne’s philosophy of life to bring things into perspective for herself. Indeed, the title quote is from Emerson’s journal in 1838: “That is morning; to cease for a bright hour to be a prisoner of this sickly body, and to become as large as the World.”Riggs started out as a poet, and you can tell. She’s an expert at capturing the moments that make life alternately euphoric and unbearable – sometimes both at once. Usually these moments are experienced with family: her tough mother, who died after nine years with multiple myeloma, providing her with a kind of “morbid test drive” for her own death; and her husband and their two precocious sons. Whether she’s choosing an expensive couch, bringing home a puppy, or surprising her sons with a trip to Universal Studios, she’s always engaged in life. You never get a sense of resignation or despair. The book is even funny, making you smile through the pain.Some of my favorite lines:“inside the MRI machine, where it sounded like hostile aliens had formed a punk band”“my pubic hair all falls out at once in the shower and shows up like a drowned muskrat in the drain.”“My wig smells toxic and makes me feel like a bank robber. But maybe it is just a cloak for riding out into suspicious country.” “‘Merry Christmas,’ says a nurse who is measuring my urine into a jug in the bathroom. ‘Do you want some pain meds? Do you want another stool softener?’”Nina Riggs died at the age of 39 on February 23, 2017.
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  • Drew Perry
    April 12, 2017
    Nina Riggs was a dear friend and a writer so sharp and insistent and unflinching it made everyone who read her work feel like they might not be living quite hard enough. Here's why nobody ought to read a friend's review: we're all grieving her loss so intensely that nobody can see quite right any more. Here's why everybody ought to read this book anyway: Nina achieved something in the last year of her life that most of us only dream of, which is to say, she made something truly beautiful from th Nina Riggs was a dear friend and a writer so sharp and insistent and unflinching it made everyone who read her work feel like they might not be living quite hard enough. Here's why nobody ought to read a friend's review: we're all grieving her loss so intensely that nobody can see quite right any more. Here's why everybody ought to read this book anyway: Nina achieved something in the last year of her life that most of us only dream of, which is to say, she made something truly beautiful from the chaos of her everyday life. That her everyday life eventually meant an aggressively metastasizing cancer that she managed not just to write through but well beyond -- that's not just triumph but actual here-and-now miracle.This is a book about loving your kids and your spouse and your dogs even when it's hard to; about loving them unabashedly when you get to; about trying to reckon with a disease that cares nothing about time or space or last chances or any of the other ephemera that glue days together; about Montaigne and Emerson and a tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts that serves as a kind of touchstone and home base any reader will recognize; about the landscape of neighborhoods; about backyards and cocktails and stolen hours and friendships and families. It's about adolescence and parenthood and cosmopolitan Paris and suburban stateside dinner parties. It's about diagnosis and hope and reckoning. Mainly, though, it's a deeply honest reminder that none of us have all the time we'd wish for, and a quiet -- if fierce -- suggestion that we pay close, close attention to the time we do have.My heart's not just broken because Nina was my friend. My heart is broken by the book itself -- in some complicated, awful ways, but in the very best of ways, too. This is what we want of the best of books: to read them, and to be unable to go about our lives as we had before.
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  • BookBully
    May 15, 2017
    So. I was not prepared to collapse into this book like I did. My friends know I'm not a huge memoir fan and often I find books of this nature fall into the "pity me" category. But, oh, Nina Riggs. How you captured my interest and pulled me along with you! Yes, this is a cancer book. Yes, it's sad and scary and, especially for mothers, frightening at times. Do not let that stop you from experiencing the gorgeous, unique prose from this bright, funny, marvelous woman. Often I felt as if the author So. I was not prepared to collapse into this book like I did. My friends know I'm not a huge memoir fan and often I find books of this nature fall into the "pity me" category. But, oh, Nina Riggs. How you captured my interest and pulled me along with you! Yes, this is a cancer book. Yes, it's sad and scary and, especially for mothers, frightening at times. Do not let that stop you from experiencing the gorgeous, unique prose from this bright, funny, marvelous woman. Often I felt as if the author was snuggled up next to me on my couch, recounting her story as we sipped drinks and made our way through a bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies. I think many a reader will feel they knew Nina and, like me, are already missing her.My heart goes out to Nina's husband, her two sons, her family and friends. Yet I hope they are immensely proud of this book. What a tremendous gift!
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  • Emilie
    March 31, 2017
    All of the highest praise for this gorgeous, wise, profound, essential book. A million stars.
  • Marika
    March 27, 2017
    Nina Riggs began her blog Suspicious Country (which morphed into this book) after being dx with breast cancer at age 37. Beautifully written, much like poetry, but with a narrative that no one wants to experience. She is very present in the moment, appreciating life even during the scariest of moments. Nina is a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it comes through in this book. How to live in the present with a death sentence looming over oneself? How to live each day, not worried about tomor Nina Riggs began her blog Suspicious Country (which morphed into this book) after being dx with breast cancer at age 37. Beautifully written, much like poetry, but with a narrative that no one wants to experience. She is very present in the moment, appreciating life even during the scariest of moments. Nina is a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it comes through in this book. How to live in the present with a death sentence looming over oneself? How to live each day, not worried about tomorrow, but accepting what is. Much like When Breathe Becomes Air, this is a moving, thoughtful book on dying, but more importantly, how to live while one still can.The Motto of her blog sums of her journey. "This Place is Strange, Scary and Sometimes Stunning."I read an advance copy and was not compensated.
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  • Patricia
    May 1, 2017
    I won this memoir from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This memoir was written by Nina Riggs, who like many other members of her family, contracted cancer. This memoir is written over the four stages of her disease which started as breast cancer, expanded to spinal lesions and ultimately lung. She died on February 23, 2017. The memoir is written similar to the form of a diary. Nina takes the reader on the journey of her mother's death from cancer, her marriage to John Dube I won this memoir from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This memoir was written by Nina Riggs, who like many other members of her family, contracted cancer. This memoir is written over the four stages of her disease which started as breast cancer, expanded to spinal lesions and ultimately lung. She died on February 23, 2017. The memoir is written similar to the form of a diary. Nina takes the reader on the journey of her mother's death from cancer, her marriage to John Duberstein and the time they lived in Paris, the births and lives of their young sons Benny and Freddy, hanging out with her friends, her friend Ginny contracting cancer, philiosphical thoughts Nina has on life, death, and leaving others behind, thoughts on not sharing future moments with loved ones, have the family dog euthanized on the family patio where one year prior they had sat after the death of Nina's mother. Nina shared her fears and loneliness. She did not focus the memoir obsessively on the illness, treatments, etc. The memoir has deep philosophical questions and moments of tenderness and levity. I loved when Ginny wanted to keep an email account open whereby she would pre-write future messages to her children and have them sent to her children as they were going through dating, sexual experimentation, etc. Nina loved life and her family. Life is a cycle and circle. Seize and live every moment you have. Cherish those around you. One can never predict when the big C will strike someone close to you. I wish John, Benny, and Freddy the very best life can offer and to know Nina was a shining star in their lives.
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  • Claudia Silk
    April 10, 2017
    A memoir that will break your heart but will leave you with a new appreciation for the world around you. Nina Riggs was someone you wish you knew.
  • Cari
    April 9, 2017
    I was so privileged to receive an advanced copy of this book from Edelweiss. Nina Riggs, a poet and descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, developed an aggressive form of cancer and wrote this memoir about her experience. It's not just about cancer, though - it's about life and what it means to live it, and how fleeting it is for all of us, not only those suffering with terminal illness. In this world filled with fear, this book is a tiny light of hope. I loved every moment of it, even as I wept int I was so privileged to receive an advanced copy of this book from Edelweiss. Nina Riggs, a poet and descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, developed an aggressive form of cancer and wrote this memoir about her experience. It's not just about cancer, though - it's about life and what it means to live it, and how fleeting it is for all of us, not only those suffering with terminal illness. In this world filled with fear, this book is a tiny light of hope. I loved every moment of it, even as I wept internally for Nina and her family.
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  • Text Publishing
    February 22, 2017
    ‘Gorgeous and brave, Nina Riggs’s memoir explodes with life and insight even amid ruin – with lines so poetic they knocked the wind out of me. It’s heartbreaking, funny, clear-eyed, and entirely devoid of cliché. This book is her hard-won treasure, and ours.’Dr. Lucy Kalanithi‘How a woman can have this much emotional clarity and narrative power while fighting for her life should astonish every last one of us. Magical. Unforgettable.’Kelly Corrigan‘Once I started this book, I couldn’t stop readin ‘Gorgeous and brave, Nina Riggs’s memoir explodes with life and insight even amid ruin – with lines so poetic they knocked the wind out of me. It’s heartbreaking, funny, clear-eyed, and entirely devoid of cliché. This book is her hard-won treasure, and ours.’Dr. Lucy Kalanithi‘How a woman can have this much emotional clarity and narrative power while fighting for her life should astonish every last one of us. Magical. Unforgettable.’Kelly Corrigan‘Once I started this book, I couldn’t stop reading. Profound, absorbing, and often even funny, Nina Riggs’s memoir of living and dying is a meditation on life, family, and how to cram every day of our existence with what we love—no matter how much time we have left. Brilliant and illuminating.’Gretchen Rubin‘Nina Riggs writes gorgeously and with astonishing clarity about her own terminal illness, about losing her mother, about her marriage and her children, about books that have guided her, and also about the often comical challenges of daily life as a busy parent. Riggs never shies away from describing the terrible sadness and messiness of her own dying, but also manages to suffuse this book with a miraculous blend of light and joy. This is an emotional journey told with raw honesty and also a sly sense of humour. The Bright Hour is an instant classic that deserves to be read by everyone who loved When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Being Mortal by Atul Guwande. Like those, here is a book about dying that has powerful lessons for everyone about how to live.’Will Schwalbe‘Nina Riggs could have written a memoir about dying. Instead, she has given us a book exploding with life. Every page of The Bright Hour (“bright” the operative word here) is filled with the mysterious, messy, funny, heartbreaking stuff that only happens in the most loving of families. Clearly, hers is one. Writing with frank and exquisite honesty and a striking absence of sentimentality or self-pity in the final days of a terminal struggle, she explores everything from her children’s choice of Halloween costumes and her own, of a new sofa, to the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Montaigne. Though no doubt challenged by constant physical depletion and grief—a fact of her illness she chooses not to dwell on—Riggs emerges as a character whose ultimate victory will not take the form of beating cancer, but of refusing to allow cancer to destroy her life-embracing spirit. As she allows us into her world of wig shopping and heart to heart conversations with her boys, it becomes impossible not to love this woman (also her quirky, tenderly rendered sons, and her quietly suffering husband, whose future remarriage she allows herself to envision). The tragedy of Riggs’s illness and impending death hangs over every page, but in the end, this is a book not about crushing loss but about the richness of love and its power to uplift and sustain us. What a gift she has given to her family, and to any reader of this beautiful book.’Joyce Maynard‘A luminous, heartbreaking symphony of wit, wisdom, pain, parenting and perseverance against insurmountable odds.’Kirkus Reviews, starred review‘Riggs reminds us that we are all in this world until we leave it; the gallows humor surrounding her mother’s funeral will make readers howl guiltily but appreciatively. Whether confronting disease or not, everyone should read this beautifully crafted book as it imbues life and loved ones with a particularly transcendent glow.’Library Journal, starred review‘Gorgeous and brave, Nina Riggs’s memoir explodes with life and insight even amid ruin—with lines so poetic they knocked the wind out of me. It’s heartbreaking, funny, clear-eyed, and entirely devoid of cliché. This book is her hard-won treasure, and ours.’Lucy Kalanithi‘Once I started this book, I couldn’t stop reading. Profound, absorbing, and often even funny, Nina Riggs’s memoir of living and dying is a meditation on life, family, and how to cram every day of our existence with what we love—no matter how much time we have left. Brilliant and illuminating.’Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before‘How a woman can have this much emotional clarity and narrative power while fighting for her life should astonish every last one of us. Magical. Unforgettable.’Kelly Corrigan, author of The Middle Place and Glitter and Glue‘Nina Riggs could have written a memoir about dying. Instead, she has given us a book exploding with life. Every page of The Bright Hour (‘bright’ the operative word here) is filled with the mysterious, messy, funny, heartbreaking stuff that only happens in the most loving of families. Clearly, hers is one.Writing with frank and exquisite honesty and a striking absence of sentimentality or self-pity in the final days of a terminal struggle, she explores everything from her children’s choice of Halloween costumes and her own, of a new sofa, to the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Montaigne. Though no doubt challenged by constant physical depletion and grief—a fact of her illness she chooses not to dwell on—Riggs emerges as a character whose ultimate victory will not take the form of beating cancer, but of refusing to allow cancer to destroy her life-embracing spirit. As she allows us into her world of wig shopping and heart-to-heart conversations with her boys, it becomes impossible not to love this woman (also her quirky, tenderly rendered sons, and her quietly suffering husband, whose future remarriage she allows herself to envision).The tragedy of Riggs’s illness and impending death hangs over every page, but in the end, this is a book not about crushing loss but about the richness of love and its power to uplift and sustain us. What a gift she has given to her family, and to any reader of this beautiful book.’Joyce Maynard‘Nina Riggs writes gorgeously and with astonishing clarity about her own terminal illness, about losing her mother, about her marriage and her children, about books that have guided her, and also about the often comical challenges of daily life as a busy parent. Riggs never shies away from describing the terrible sadness and messiness of her own dying, but also manages to suffuse this book with a miraculous blend of light and joy. This is an emotional journey told with raw honesty and also a sly sense of humor.The Bright Hour is an instant classic that deserves to be read by everyone who loved When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Like those, here is a book about dying that has powerful lessons for everyone about how to live.’Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Bookclub and Books for Living‘Cancer might have taken Nina Riggs’s life, but it never once vanquished her: in this brave and beautiful book she lives on. Knowing that she died not long after completing it is such a wrench to the heart—yet what an amazing gift she has left behind for her readers.’Debra Adelaide
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  • Cassi Taylor-Clarke
    April 27, 2017
    I feel like this book should come with a trigger warning. I don't know what possessed me to want to preview this memoir; I don't usually read memoirs and I knew it was about breast cancer, but I am endlessly thankful for the opportunity to enjoy this exquisite work of art. Nina Riggs: author, poet, mother, daughter, and wife writes about her journey from just "one small spot of breast cancer" to terminal cancer in just 1 year. How do you tell your two young sons that you will not be there for th I feel like this book should come with a trigger warning. I don't know what possessed me to want to preview this memoir; I don't usually read memoirs and I knew it was about breast cancer, but I am endlessly thankful for the opportunity to enjoy this exquisite work of art. Nina Riggs: author, poet, mother, daughter, and wife writes about her journey from just "one small spot of breast cancer" to terminal cancer in just 1 year. How do you tell your two young sons that you will not be there for them in the future? How do you navigate through the treacherous changes that breast cancer has on a woman's body? Nina writes with such openness and conviction that her journey will probably remind you of someone you know in your own personal life. Surgeries, scans, drains, implants, prosthesis, Oncology appointments, pain management: all brought me back to the summer before my senior year of high school when my own Mother went through the same thing. My amazing, single Mom, who's own Mother died of breast cancer, went back to work with drains hidden under her dress clothes so she could keep us fed. I never cry reading a book, no matter how sad or tragic the story is, but I just couldn't help it with this one. I think this book is a must read for every mother, daughter, sister, friend, really anyone who has dealt or is dealing with this disease. I will definitely venture into more memoirs because of how amazing this was. 5 well deserved stars for Nina Riggs.Thank You Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for this advanced copy.
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  • Lori Sommerfelt
    May 2, 2017
    I won a Goodreads Giveaway for this book and was privileged to receive an advance copy. This is certainly not a book I would typically pick off of a shelf, but I am so glad I read it. I have struggled with a paralyzing fear of mortality since I was a child, and was concerned that this book would be either too sappy or too upsetting. Instead, it was heart-wrenchingly honest, poignant, delightfully clever, and simply beautiful. This is a book that will stay with me long after it is placed on my "c I won a Goodreads Giveaway for this book and was privileged to receive an advance copy. This is certainly not a book I would typically pick off of a shelf, but I am so glad I read it. I have struggled with a paralyzing fear of mortality since I was a child, and was concerned that this book would be either too sappy or too upsetting. Instead, it was heart-wrenchingly honest, poignant, delightfully clever, and simply beautiful. This is a book that will stay with me long after it is placed on my "completed" shelf.
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  • Katie
    April 24, 2017
    Nina Riggs was a beautiful writer and observer of life. On the page she seems like a thinker who was born making unexpected, illuminating connections and then taught herself how to make those connections clearer and richer. Her way with imagery was counter-intuitive, impactful, and elegant. She must have had a lot of drive to write such a carefully-constructed book in the middle of all of this, especially when a maudlin one would have been so much easier. It's just infuriating that she won't be Nina Riggs was a beautiful writer and observer of life. On the page she seems like a thinker who was born making unexpected, illuminating connections and then taught herself how to make those connections clearer and richer. Her way with imagery was counter-intuitive, impactful, and elegant. She must have had a lot of drive to write such a carefully-constructed book in the middle of all of this, especially when a maudlin one would have been so much easier. It's just infuriating that she won't be here to see it land.Personally, I found Riggs' story utterly gutting. I will never forget the image of her in the backseat of her car between her two boys. I'm glad I read this, and I will try even harder to appreciate what I have.
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  • Brettne
    February 26, 2017
    This is the most gorgeous memoir I've ever read, and a primer on how to live life fully, honestly, and courageously, no matter how much time we have left. Here are some of my favorite passages:"And there it is: The beautiful, vibrant, living world goes on.""I'm terrified. I'm fine. The world is changed and exactly as before.""These days, these are my people--the Feeling Pretty Poorlies--but I haven't really seen us as we are in a long time.""'I want all of it--all the things to do with living--a This is the most gorgeous memoir I've ever read, and a primer on how to live life fully, honestly, and courageously, no matter how much time we have left. Here are some of my favorite passages:"And there it is: The beautiful, vibrant, living world goes on.""I'm terrified. I'm fine. The world is changed and exactly as before.""These days, these are my people--the Feeling Pretty Poorlies--but I haven't really seen us as we are in a long time.""'I want all of it--all the things to do with living--and I want them to keep feeling messy and confusing and even sometimes boring. The carpool line and the backpacks and the light that fills the room in the building where I wait while the kids take piano lessons. The sound of my extended family laughing downstairs. My chemo hair growing in quickly in thick, wild chunks."And on and on. I love every word of this book. What an amazing legacy Nina left for her husband, her boys, and for us all.
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  • Elizabeth
    May 24, 2017
    (ARC received for review by NetGalley)Nina was thirty-seven when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it sucked. A lot. Her sons were six and eight. That's how I met her: our older sons got to be friends when they were in the same class at school. She was a totally awesome person- instantly easy to talk to, with great stories and quippy comebacks. It's not a surprise that reading her words feels an awful lot like talking to her. What is a surprise, though, is what amazing things she can do (ARC received for review by NetGalley)Nina was thirty-seven when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it sucked. A lot. Her sons were six and eight. That's how I met her: our older sons got to be friends when they were in the same class at school. She was a totally awesome person- instantly easy to talk to, with great stories and quippy comebacks. It's not a surprise that reading her words feels an awful lot like talking to her. What is a surprise, though, is what amazing things she can do with words. After her diagnosis, as a writer, she began processing the information in a way that she knew... by writing. Her blog entries were beautiful, morbid, funny, and heartrending, all at the same time. I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that Nina had access to the exact same vocabulary I have, but that she was able to do so much more with it that I could ever do.In one scene in her book, she's talking to her son Freddy after his hospital stay (diabetes diagnosis) and he says he sometimes misses the hospital so much he could cry. She writes, "'The hospital. The beeping machines. The sallow 3 a.m. light of the hallway. The narrow vinyl couch and paper sheet... that hospital?''I loved playing those video games the whole time,' he said. 'And remember how you wold climb in the bed and cuddle me at night and we would just talk?'Oh. That hospital."Two completely different places in one place. I remember reading the blog entry where she wrote about that exchange, creating two completely different moods and feelings about the same place, and just being amazed. And this whole book is full of similarly rich, beautiful writing. I truly am finding myself wanting to just quote passages in this review.Reading this book feels a lot different than reading other memoirs about disease and dying. This doesn't feel like Nina is on a stage, pontificating from behind a podium about what she's learned from her experience. She also doesn't write like she's already died and wants to send back postcards of light. She writes like she's going through it. And it's scary. And really hard. And sometimes it's funny. And sometimes it's not. But you're right there with her, sitting on the back deck with a cold beer, just listening to her stories about her experiences.Dying is something that happens to everyone. But I couldn't think of a book that treated it that way until I read this. She really looks right at the scary stuff, and even when it's still scary, makes it okay to laugh through the tears. There's an exchange she has with her husband about the phrase, "It's your funeral," when faced with a bad decision, as well as her cousin Bonnie's response when she finally says, "So it turns out I'm kind of dying," that just make this book so three-dimensional and honest and just incredible. Yeah, I cried a lot. Read it with a box of Kleenex. But do read it. And then realize how much it totally sucks at the end when you can't text her and say, "Damn, Nina, that was a REALLY good book."
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  • Sharon May
    May 21, 2017
    On my knees in gratitude to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this brilliant memoir. I will be shocked if a single person gives this book less than 5 stars.I just finished reading this book. Hollowed. Hopeful. Just like the title, The Bright Hour, has different connotations - the bright spot glowing on a cancer scan to the quote from Emerson describing morning and being a prisoner of a sick body.The great-great-great-granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson is diagnosed On my knees in gratitude to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this brilliant memoir. I will be shocked if a single person gives this book less than 5 stars.I just finished reading this book. Hollowed. Hopeful. Just like the title, The Bright Hour, has different connotations - the bright spot glowing on a cancer scan to the quote from Emerson describing morning and being a prisoner of a sick body.The great-great-great-granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson is diagnosed with "one small spot" of breast cancer when she is 37 years old. Married and the mother of two young boys, her mother is also dying of blood cancer. This book is divided into the stages of her cancer, interspersed with quotes from both Emerson and Montaigne that speak to the wonders of this world and feelings of death. While you may think this would be a depressing read, it is anything but. Nina's grace, humor, candor and courage are anything but depressing. The other bright spots - her family, friends, health care workers - can only leave you with feelings of gratitude and hope that you will find similar allies when you face your trials. Because as she writes, remember you must die. But this book is about living more than anything and will make you look at life and relationships with a different eye.The epilogue by her husband was gut-wrenching but Nina definitely chose well in her choice of a life partner and father of her sons. This book will be an amazing legacy for them.Right now - preorder this book so that you have it in your hands when it is published. I couldn't put it down and am honored to have read it.
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  • Jade
    May 31, 2017
    As soon as I picked up the book, I couldn't stop. I was immediately drawn to her moving and heartbreaking story of living and dying. I am amazed by her writing, it captivated me - her sense of clarity during her emotional journey is incredible. I wish her story never ended.I am insanely grateful that I was one of the people who received an advanced copy of Nina Riggs memoir. I feel like I know Nina. I am so saddened by her loss. My heart goes out to her family.
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  • Rhonda Lomazow
    May 29, 2017
    There are not enough stars to shine for this exquisite memoir.Nina two young children a happy marriage is diagnosed in her thirties with cancer,Told at first it was a small lump heartbreakingly it is not so.Ninas spirit her wonderful voice shines in this memoir even as life is being stolen by cancer.A woman a book you will never forget and will fill your mind with thought,
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  • Milli (MiracleMilliReads)
    May 6, 2017
    A Beautifully written memoir by Nina Riggs about her journey through life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This book is cry worthy and amazingly brought out to teach so many lessons. The way she appreciated life knowing she can be gone anytime soon. Nina Riggs speaks about her four stages of cancer. It started off as breast cancer, expanded to spinal lesions, and then went to her lungs. Not only does she speak for herself, but speaks about her mothers death because she had cancer as we A Beautifully written memoir by Nina Riggs about her journey through life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This book is cry worthy and amazingly brought out to teach so many lessons. The way she appreciated life knowing she can be gone anytime soon. Nina Riggs speaks about her four stages of cancer. It started off as breast cancer, expanded to spinal lesions, and then went to her lungs. Not only does she speak for herself, but speaks about her mothers death because she had cancer as well. Also, her wonderful marriage to her husband John and her beautiful sons Benny and Freddy. She wrote about her fears, but didn't really evolve on her condition which made me love this book more. Nina Riggs died on February 23, 2017 and she appreciated her time around those she loved.This book was written like if it were her own diary and it made me feel really connected to her. A heart breaking story, but with a lesson on appreciation and living life while you still can.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCADH...
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  • Kathy
    May 28, 2017
    What a beautifully written, poignant book about living each day and not only experiencing, but celebrating, all it has to offer, good and bad, by an author openly sharing her battle with breast cancer.Nina Riggs was 37 years old, with a loving husband and two young sons when she was diagnosed with an especially deadly form of breast cancer. She lets the reader "in" as if we were beloved friends or family. It is hard not to feel as if you actually know her. Nina actually had me laughing out loud What a beautifully written, poignant book about living each day and not only experiencing, but celebrating, all it has to offer, good and bad, by an author openly sharing her battle with breast cancer.Nina Riggs was 37 years old, with a loving husband and two young sons when she was diagnosed with an especially deadly form of breast cancer. She lets the reader "in" as if we were beloved friends or family. It is hard not to feel as if you actually know her. Nina actually had me laughing out loud in several places which made me feel guilty, but actually is a testament to her courage and love of life. Here's a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of her ancestors, which she used it the book: "I am cheered with the moist, warm, glittering, budding and melodious hour that takes down the narrow walls of my soul and extends its pulsation and life to the very horizon, that is morning; to cease for a bright hour to be a prisoner of this sickly body, and to become as large as the World." What a fine memoir she has left for her family, and for the world, of a woman who loved life, took all it had to offer, and never gave up. I wish I really had known her - she's a woman I admire!Many many thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster publishers for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this wonderful book!
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  • Jerrie
    June 1, 2017
    I won this book on GoodReads. This lovely book is a series of vignettes chronicling how the author lived while she was dying. A descendent of Ralph Waldo Emerson, he and Montaigne inform much of her thinking about living and dying. She was surrounded by illness, her mother's death from cancer, her son's T1 diabetes diagnosis, etc, that it's amazing she could write with so much humor and grace, and write really well, throughout her illness. Out 6/6
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  • Laurie
    May 26, 2017
    Wow! A powerful, inspiring, true story about a young woman with terminal cancer and how she and her family handle the diagnosis, the treatments and all the changes that come with this disease.As a healthcare professional, I feel it is a must read for nurses, physicians and anyone in this field. People will gain an insight to feelings that go with the news from the beginning and forward as did this family.Thank you to netgalley for the ARC. I have provided and honest review.
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  • Helen
    May 26, 2017
    A beautifully written memoir by Nina Riggs of her journey with metastatic breast cancer. She was a mother of two young boys and a wife to a very loving and supportive husband. She tells of her journey with humor and dignity. A sad but very moving tribute to the very strong woman that she was.
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