Do you read in bed before you go to sleep? If you do, I've got a spooky Halloween-inspired eBook by New York Times bestselling novelist Jennifer Weiner that you have to read. Be sure to read A Memoir of Grief [Continued] in your dark bedroom with only the glow from your tablet screen to set the mood...
Jennifer's publicist sent me an excerpt. Check it out below the photo.
Weiner's new book is about about shattered dreams and the question of just how far you might go to protect your pride. It's a question Ellie King keeps asking herself—when she discovered lacy panties in the backseat of her husband Gerry’s Cadillac, when Gerry was too self-involved to embrace their only son, or when he insisted on summers in the Hamptons and bespoke suits from London when, in fact, as critics pointed out, his once thriving writing career was past its prime, and they were buried in debt.
Yet, Ellie tried her best to portray the charmed, whimsical life she had dreamt of since her days as an English major at Wellesley College—the kind of life a sophisticated literary couple should be leading: chauffeured soirees, nostalgic trips to Europe, cozy evenings filled with cups of strong black espresso. The skeletons that Gerry King harbored in his closet were known by only one other person: Ellie. And she wanted to keep it this way. She had given up everything for him.
When Gerry dies of cancer, he leaves something behind that would expose all of their dirty secrets; something that would jeopardize the mask that Ellie worked so hard to front. And when it gets into the wrong hands, Ellie is forced to do the unthinkable…
Want to hear more? You can read an excerpt of her book below.
Ellie was in the hallway, her little dog Duncan trotting briskly at her heels, two trash bags in her hands, filled with the leavings of her husband’s memorial party: empty tinfoil trays that had once held kugel and lasagna, miniature bagels, whitefish salad, lox. She shouldn’t have been able to hear anything from the kitchen, but, after forty years in their apartment—my apartment, her mind amended; even with Gerald six weeks gone she found herself continually working to remember that the apartment on the Upper East Side, with its spacious living room that overlooked the park and its dingy kitchen that overlooked an air shaft, was her apartment now, or would be, for as long as she could afford it—she knew the acoustics well. There were corners of the living room where you could hear everything in the guest bedroom; from the master bathroom you could listen in on every word uttered in the front hall.
“Death becomes her?” That was Peter’s boy—or rather the boy Peter was chasing, a literary agent named Simms Downing, slim-hipped and graceful, his hair in a neat ponytail and his eyes dark as river-wet granite stones, all of twenty-seven to Peter’s sixty-two. People had known exactly what was going on after Peter, the editor of Paradigm Press, whose longtime companion of thirty years had died of a heart attack the year before—had started paying six-figure advances for every proposal the handsome young agent had brought him, including a collection of free-verse poetry and cocktail napkin doodles by the not-famous bass player in a once-famous band.
Ellie and Gerry had been friends with Peter and his husband Michael, an eternally cheerful middle school history teacher whose real job, like Ellie’s, was taking care of his brilliant, difficult husband. One morning a year after Michael had died, Ellie and Gerry were picking up Gerry’s usual bagels and a cake to serve after dinner, when she’d seen Peter and Simms at Sarabeth’s, huddled over maps of the fifth arrondissement, and she’d known, from the way Peter’s eyes followed Simms’s hands as they moved through the air, the way he devoured the sight of Simms lifting his coffee cup to his lips, that Peter was in love . . . and Simms wasn’t. He’s playing you, she’d wanted to whisper into Peter’s wrinkled, age-spotted ear, from which a tuft of hair white as St. Nick’s beard protruded . . . but would he listen? Did people in love ever listen? God knows she hadn’t when she’d fallen for Gerry, when she’d been a curvy, buxom senior at Wellesley, with a cloud of inky-black curls that she wore piled on top of her head. Gerry, who’d published an acclaimed short story collection and was putting the finishing touches on his novel, had come to teach a three-week semester in Cambridge, and Ellie was wild to be admitted, to sit at the great man’s feet.
“He’s gross,” groaned her roommate Alice Ellison, long-limbed and elegant, with thin blond hair and a ski-jump nose, came from an old Greenwich family. She was a third-generation Wellesley-ite, and had come to campus with a vintage Vuitton trunk full of clothing, and her own dressage horse. Ellie couldn’t argue. Gerry was from Detroit, spat when he talked and sweated when he lectured and had a tendency to scratch himself wherever he itched, no matter who was looking. “And that story,” Alice said, rolling her eyes and tugging at the hem of her A WOMAN NEEDS A MAN LIKE A FISH NEEDS A BICYCLE T-shirt. “Dirty Blonde? The woman doesn’t even get a name, she’s just . . .” And here she curled her slim fingers into ironic quotation marks. “The Blonde? You think a guy who writes a story like that has any regard at all for women?”
Ellie didn’t know, and honestly she didn’t care. Gerry could write, and she would polish him, smooth his path, make his work possible. She hadn’t come from money, but, after four years surrounded by girls who had, she knew what he needed if he was to be a Great American Novelist, on television, in front of lecture halls, seducing the world with his words. She would encourage him to get his teeth capped and his hair cut; she’d introduce him, as Alice had introduced her, to sushi and raw oysters; she’d help him figure out about hand-sewn shirts, good cologne, and which fork to use for which course; how to move in the world in a way that would ensure he was treated like he deserved to be treated.
A Memoir of Grief [Continued] is available for pre-order now on: Amazon.com, Apple iBooks, BarnesandNoble.com, and Simon & Schuster. (Atria Books, ebook; $0.99) If you enjoyed Recalculating, Weiner's bestselling Halloween short story last year, I'm sure you'l like her newest eerie tale.