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Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage

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A turbulent romance meets harrowing medical mystery: the true story of the author's twenty-year marriage defined by her husband's chronic illness--and a testament to the endurance of love Eleanor met Aaron when she was just a teenager and he was working at a local record store--older, cool, experienced, and with an electric personality. Escaping the clich�s of fleeting youn A turbulent romance meets harrowing medical mystery: the true story of the author's twenty-year marriage defined by her husband's chronic illness--and a testament to the endurance of love Eleanor met Aaron when she was just a teenager and he was working at a local record store--older, cool, experienced, and with an electric personality. Escaping the clich�s of fleeting young love, their summer romance bloomed into a relationship that survived college and culminated in a marriage and two children. From the outside looking in, their life had all the trappings of what most would consider a success story. But, as in any marriage, things weren't always as they seemed. On top of the typical stresses of parenting, money, and work, there were Aaron's untended wounds of depression, addiction, and family trauma. Then, when burning lesions appeared on his body overnight, Eleanor was as baffled as his doctors. There seemed to be no obvious diagnosis, let alone a cure. And when the lesions gave way to Aaron's increasingly disturbed concerns about parasites living inside him, the husband she loved began to unravel before her eyes. A new fissure ruptured in their marriage, and new questions piled onto old ones: Where does physical illness end and mental illness begin? Where does one person end and another begin? And how do we exist alongside someone else's suffering? Emotional, propulsive, and at times heartbreaking, EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS tells the story of a marriage tested by powerful forces out of both partners' control. It's not only a memoir of a wife's tireless quest to heal her husband, but one that asks just what it means to accept someone as they are.


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A turbulent romance meets harrowing medical mystery: the true story of the author's twenty-year marriage defined by her husband's chronic illness--and a testament to the endurance of love Eleanor met Aaron when she was just a teenager and he was working at a local record store--older, cool, experienced, and with an electric personality. Escaping the clich�s of fleeting youn A turbulent romance meets harrowing medical mystery: the true story of the author's twenty-year marriage defined by her husband's chronic illness--and a testament to the endurance of love Eleanor met Aaron when she was just a teenager and he was working at a local record store--older, cool, experienced, and with an electric personality. Escaping the clich�s of fleeting young love, their summer romance bloomed into a relationship that survived college and culminated in a marriage and two children. From the outside looking in, their life had all the trappings of what most would consider a success story. But, as in any marriage, things weren't always as they seemed. On top of the typical stresses of parenting, money, and work, there were Aaron's untended wounds of depression, addiction, and family trauma. Then, when burning lesions appeared on his body overnight, Eleanor was as baffled as his doctors. There seemed to be no obvious diagnosis, let alone a cure. And when the lesions gave way to Aaron's increasingly disturbed concerns about parasites living inside him, the husband she loved began to unravel before her eyes. A new fissure ruptured in their marriage, and new questions piled onto old ones: Where does physical illness end and mental illness begin? Where does one person end and another begin? And how do we exist alongside someone else's suffering? Emotional, propulsive, and at times heartbreaking, EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS tells the story of a marriage tested by powerful forces out of both partners' control. It's not only a memoir of a wife's tireless quest to heal her husband, but one that asks just what it means to accept someone as they are.

30 review for Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I found this book difficult and disturbing to read. The author tells her story of her relationship to her husband Aaron, but I could not find anything redeeming or heartening in the story. While the author celebrates her ability to maintain this damaged relationship, I found it difficult to understand. Since much of the story was based on Aaron’s illnesses, I spent time trying to understand those as well. So, this is the opposite of an inspirational story, just a depressing montage of scenes fro I found this book difficult and disturbing to read. The author tells her story of her relationship to her husband Aaron, but I could not find anything redeeming or heartening in the story. While the author celebrates her ability to maintain this damaged relationship, I found it difficult to understand. Since much of the story was based on Aaron’s illnesses, I spent time trying to understand those as well. So, this is the opposite of an inspirational story, just a depressing montage of scenes from a very bizarre relationship. Thank you Netgalley for this ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Norvell

    As a book cover designer, I am able to read manuscripts before the book is published (a necessity for my job!) In lieu of my deadline, I typically skim those manuscripts - rather quickly - gleaning for pieces of inspiration to use on the cover. With 'Everything...' I simply could not skim! I was enraptured with Eleanor's story. It was addicting. I finally forced myself to put the manuscript down and begin working on her cover. I'm really looking forward to this book's pub date so I can start ove As a book cover designer, I am able to read manuscripts before the book is published (a necessity for my job!) In lieu of my deadline, I typically skim those manuscripts - rather quickly - gleaning for pieces of inspiration to use on the cover. With 'Everything...' I simply could not skim! I was enraptured with Eleanor's story. It was addicting. I finally forced myself to put the manuscript down and begin working on her cover. I'm really looking forward to this book's pub date so I can start over from the beginning and finish this amazing memoir. I also can't wait to hold the actual book and flip its pages. Thank you, Eleanor! It was a pleasure...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janet Hamilton

    What tiresome people. I pity their children, and I certainly don't admire the author. Her husband's "illness" bestows a certain superiority that it seems she enjoys. I will not seek out anything else written by Henderson. What tiresome people. I pity their children, and I certainly don't admire the author. Her husband's "illness" bestows a certain superiority that it seems she enjoys. I will not seek out anything else written by Henderson.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Yes, the book is beautifully written, but it gave me an extremely uncomfortable feeling to read. I could not respect the decision to stay with this man once children were involved. Mental illness is debilitating and deserving of compassion and treatment. This felt more like enablement and codependency.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pj

    This woman is going to “love” her husband to death. For anyone interested in a REAL love story between a suicidal man and his able-normative wife, wait for “One Friday In April” by Donald Antrim. It comes out in October.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Denise Sprague

    I couldn’t put this down, but wish I had. It was raw, visceral, vivid. Jumping around in time added to the sense of instability. This book also left me with so many questions - is she noble? Or is she perpetuating the woman/wife as martyr? Was she empathetic or not empathetic enough? Was her role as a mother less important? What impact did all of this have on her children? I feel like I need to start another book immediately to quiet my brain after this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Boyle

    Have a lot of complicated feelings.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tashina Knight

    Very well-written, but also highly unsatisfying. The main take-away I got from it is how sad it was that they are still together. They are so obviously terrible for each other, and I just could see how she could have had a much better life without him. Like having a very damaged child, and having your whole life upended by it, but CHOOSING that life. Spending your life (by choice) in hospitals, trying to keep your kids away from the worst of it, calling 911, living with drug and alcohol abuse, v Very well-written, but also highly unsatisfying. The main take-away I got from it is how sad it was that they are still together. They are so obviously terrible for each other, and I just could see how she could have had a much better life without him. Like having a very damaged child, and having your whole life upended by it, but CHOOSING that life. Spending your life (by choice) in hospitals, trying to keep your kids away from the worst of it, calling 911, living with drug and alcohol abuse, very rarely having any monetary help. I wouldn't wish that life on my worst enemy, much less imagine choosing it day after day after day. I had a boyfriend like that in my youth, and although I loved him, it was a choice I had - a good life or a life with him. I chose to have a good life. The overall medical story isn't particularly interesting or inspiring. It's a mediocre medical story written by an excellent author. I just pity her. Would not read again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    TOO MANY WORDS, WORDS, WORDS about every grueling, frantic detail in this couple's life. The details of his disease and Aaron's every action and terrible decision. Their very peculiar and messed up families, and the author's insanely busy life were enough to make me feel sick myself. I can't recommend this book because I found it very boring and repetitious. After the first third I began to skip 20 pages at a time and still never lost the jist of the story as there WAS no story, just a repeating TOO MANY WORDS, WORDS, WORDS about every grueling, frantic detail in this couple's life. The details of his disease and Aaron's every action and terrible decision. Their very peculiar and messed up families, and the author's insanely busy life were enough to make me feel sick myself. I can't recommend this book because I found it very boring and repetitious. After the first third I began to skip 20 pages at a time and still never lost the jist of the story as there WAS no story, just a repeating rewind of her husband's never ending ailments that no one could ever diagnose, and his many addictions to apparently anything he ever put in his mouth. Why she never had any container available for her husband's vomit that kept spraying the walls, floors and steps and getting on the carpet, astounds me. She mentions them being strict vegetarians, but I think in her husband's case a big steak might have done him a world of good, once in a while. I suspected he may have picked up mysterious parasites or worms from all the organic plants they kept ingesting. One thing that I would have been more interested in was the house they built on her salary. I would like to have known more about it and their lives in the neighborhood. How they afforded a place like this was never explained as they were always strapped for cash and he never seemed to work, being too busy counting the colored threads that came out of his repulsive endless red sores. This book reminds me of a nightmare where you see awful things that endlessly repeat and no matter how fast you run, you never seem to get anywhere.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ursula

    This memoir is tender, heartbreaking, and brilliant. The prose sings, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    This is a memoir about marriage and illness. It's about a 10-year journey the author took that started with her husband's acute illness. This is about the search for a cure and for some understanding of what was happening to him. The larger story is about the core of their relationship, looking back at the early years and what helped them stay the course for twenty-four years. Even though there were some acute symptoms in her husband's skin illness, there was a deeper story around what was happe This is a memoir about marriage and illness. It's about a 10-year journey the author took that started with her husband's acute illness. This is about the search for a cure and for some understanding of what was happening to him. The larger story is about the core of their relationship, looking back at the early years and what helped them stay the course for twenty-four years. Even though there were some acute symptoms in her husband's skin illness, there was a deeper story around what was happening to him and his body and what it means to witness a loved one go through that kind of horror while maintaining a send of sanity, love, and understanding. First of all, the author seemed to remember all the details and was a fountain of knowledge about medical information. Her compassion, patience, and support for her husband seemed boundless. I loved it when she wrote, "When the person you love tries and fails to end his life, you are glad that he is still living, that he failed. There is a kind of embarrassment in that failure, though, an embarrassment in the company of others who love people who successfully ended their lives, embarrassment that the person you love is still living, embarrassment that he did not succeed. He did not go about suicide seriously. His anguish was not deep enough. You don't have much time for embarrassment, though, because another thing that happens when someone you love tries and fails to end his life is that you spend the rest of your life trying to keep him from trying again, trying to create a world in which he will not want to try again. When someone you love tries to end his life because you took your love away from him, you will spend the rest of your life trying to keep him alive with your love." To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/ele...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Dean

    I actually found this book, while well written, very disturbing and frustrating. I had to give up a third of the way through as the events with Aaron and Eleanor just kept repeating. I almost wanted to flip to the end to see exactly what was the actual cause of his skin disease, and whether they ever found success, but just gave up.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    1 star - A truly awful book that went on and on, but never resolved anything. Two co-dependent people, she a caretaker, he a suicidal alcoholic with a chronic disease that could be this, or maybe that, but most likely is Morgellons. Why these two people chose to bring children into this world, especially with mental illness on both sides, and then why she continued to stay with him, baffles me. They both came from dysfunctional families, and are perpetuating it for another generation.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    This is .... quite something to review. I'll start with it as a book. It is interesting, it is absorbing, there's a lot of material, and she's (mostly) brutally honest. The writing is excellent, and the descriptions are vivid (which, since part of this is a medical memoir, may not be to everyone's taste). My rating reflects this; the quality of a book isn't dependent on whether you find its author likable or not. The story itself is another matter. A few reviewers read this as a story of marita This is .... quite something to review. I'll start with it as a book. It is interesting, it is absorbing, there's a lot of material, and she's (mostly) brutally honest. The writing is excellent, and the descriptions are vivid (which, since part of this is a medical memoir, may not be to everyone's taste). My rating reflects this; the quality of a book isn't dependent on whether you find its author likable or not. The story itself is another matter. A few reviewers read this as a story of marital dedication and devotion, and to some extent it is, but it more generally is the story of an extremely dysfunctional, codependent relationship that was built on shaky ground. When Eleanor met Aaron, she was a high school senior. He was 25 and working at CD Warehouse. He follows her to college at Middlebury, where he doesn't do much of anything, and she spends her time living with him. At one point she asks him to work more to pay rent and ... he doesn't. Her parents don't see this as an issue. (I have a teenager. I was screaming.) There are a lot of red flags in the early days of their relationship. Aaron has a lot of very real problems: substance abuse, childhood trauma, neglectful parents, mental illness. They get into recovery. Eleanor admits her codependency in Al-Anon. Closely tied in to both his mental illness and his substance abuse is a mysterious chronic illness that causes him to erupt in horrible, painful sores. This sets them down the path of Morgellon's. I'm familiar with Morgellons (and chronic Lyme, which comes up later) via the scientific skeptic community. The ongoing question is whether Morgellon's is "real." I think that's the wrong question to ask. Clearly, these patients are suffering. Their symptoms are real. Whether or not Morgellon's is a legitimate clinical diagnosis is a real question (there's no evidence that it is) but using the word "real" sidesteps important issues and reflects several false beliefs: 1) That somatic symptom disorders are the same as factitious disorder i.e. making it up, and that if a patient's issues are mental in origin, that they can turn them off; 2) That if a condition is psychiatric, it is not real; only conditions with an observable physical process are real. This is why people resist the idea that their condition delusional parasitosis—because that means "it's all in their heads". Physical symptoms must have a physical explanation. 3) From the patient point of view, they have seen clinicians who dismiss physical symptoms without sufficient investigation and blame them on mental disorders, with the clear implication that they are less serious. (I have a friend whose first rheumatologist diagnosed her with "fibromyalgia caused by her Type-A personality"; clearly he was also of the type who used the fibromyalgia diagnosis to dismiss female pain. The actual answer was lupus.) I would suggest a new way of thinking about this: that if Morgellon's is, in fact, psychiatric in origin, this is actually a testament to the power of the brain. Clinicians should never dismiss symptoms, but we should all have a deep respect for how we can physically respond to stressors. Once, while having dental work done, I had a panic attack. One of its effects was that it made anesthetic stop working. Henderson dances around this, but does not say it explicitly. The narrative veers from her skepticism to her commitment to alternative medicine (this was a horror show complete with Herxing). Her observations surrounding his drinking relapses and medication indicate she is, at least now, unconvinced by Morgellon's... but she also seems to say that she supports Aaron's belief because he believes it. While pregnant with their first child, Eleanor says to her mother, "It's not my job to look after his mental health." Her mother replies, "Honey, that's what marriage is." In some ways this sums up many of the problems with Eleanor and Aaron's marriage: she's locked herself into a caretaker role, unable to set boundaries between his mental and physical health and her own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carin

    Marriage isn’t always easy. Which I feel like is something ignored for the most part in pop culture (aside from that brilliant story arc on Blackish a couple of years ago.) Fights are portrayed as something humorous and minor if not outright funny. But that’s not the truth. So when I saw this memoir about a passionate, loving, tricky, complicated, and difficult marriage, I dove right in. Eleanor and Aaron meet young (well, Eleanor is in high school but Aaron is older.) And their rollercoaster rel Marriage isn’t always easy. Which I feel like is something ignored for the most part in pop culture (aside from that brilliant story arc on Blackish a couple of years ago.) Fights are portrayed as something humorous and minor if not outright funny. But that’s not the truth. So when I saw this memoir about a passionate, loving, tricky, complicated, and difficult marriage, I dove right in. Eleanor and Aaron meet young (well, Eleanor is in high school but Aaron is older.) And their rollercoaster relationship lasts through a lot of twists and turns that would have taken out other couples. And finally, when they are adults and married and have careers and things seem to be smoothing out–that’s when it gets much, much harder. Aaron has medical issues that can’t be diagnosed properly. Does he have A or B or C? Or A and B and C? No one quite knows. It could be D or E? Or Z. And there are countless doctor’s appointments and excruciating pain. To deal with it, he drinks heavily. Occasionally uses drugs. The entire burden of supporting the family, dealing with the kids and the household, as well as with Aaron who often seems like a very large third child, falls completely on her. Which would be more than enough to crush a person, and then add the health problems on top. I find Eleanor’s resilience inspiring, amazing, and downright unbelievable. She is truly impressive. I’d guess 99% of people I know wouldn’t have her fortitude. She perseveres.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I must have suggested this book to my library because it came right in for me. I wasn't sure what it was about but I love memoirs and relationship stories so I got right into it. The book starts off with the author as a high school student meeting her now-husband at a record store. She was pretty straight-laced with little dating experience and the man she met was almost 25, a high school dropout and working part-time in the record store. She talks his drinking and drug use. He doesn't seem to w I must have suggested this book to my library because it came right in for me. I wasn't sure what it was about but I love memoirs and relationship stories so I got right into it. The book starts off with the author as a high school student meeting her now-husband at a record store. She was pretty straight-laced with little dating experience and the man she met was almost 25, a high school dropout and working part-time in the record store. She talks his drinking and drug use. He doesn't seem to work full time or much at all and he follows her to college. She basically lives with him from her freshman year on. He tells her of a troubled childhood with divorced parents, big moves, and a childhood friend dying. The book goes back and forth between their early years together in the early 2000s and a more current timeline where he is very mysteriously ill. They go to doctor after doctor and no one knows what's wrong with him. One doctor suggests possible schizophrenia or some schizoid variant but as we all know from this book, psychology is not a hard science and it's mainly self-reported. Another doctor thinks he simply has ADHD. Most of his issues seem to be mysterious rashes To me, it is very clear from the beginning she is making some excuses (either unconsciously, trying to head off criticism or at her editor's suggestion, I don't know) about things in their life that are a little off--he didn't know she was a child in high school when they started dating but she didn't know his last name for a few days! He doesn't work but he doesn't feel well! Men can stay home with kids even if it means she works three jobs to pay the bills. It is also pretty clear to me that there is a pattern of his illness. For example: she leaves the house for an hour for a meeting and turns off her phone, he throws up "blood" and she has to rush home to find "bloody" vomit and "undigested" ramen all over the house. Her son sends her panicked texts and she rushes home. They rush to the hospital and it's agreed that the "blood" is really a large amount of red juice he drank that day. This happens a lot. He gets sick when she is trying to set up hospice care for her dying father. He gets sick when she is at work, with the kids, on her birthday. When she is away on business. Somewhere around this point, I thought the book was going to shift and it was going to become about living with a man who is a con artist or who has chronic factitious illness disorder (what we used to call Munchausen's syndrome) but I keep reading and it's just more of the same. I finally read the blurb of the book and find out it was billed as "A turbulent romance meets harrowing medical mystery: the true story of the author’s twenty-year marriage defined by her husband’s chronic illness—and a testament to the endurance of love." Oh no, oh no no no. This is a hard book to talk about because if the major red flags and issues are based in reality, that means this man really has been suffering for no reason for years and that's awful. If he is the manipulative predator I feel much of the book describes, then he has been abusing his wife and their whole family for years and the author is seemingly unaware and often blames herself for their problems. Which is it? What other options are there? I outlined some of the many red flags in my review on my blog. It was a very uncomfortable book to read if well written.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia. Blau

    Interesting, well written, depressing. I did not finish it. I didn’t want to wallow in sickness

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lorri Steinbacher

    Beautifully written, but relentlessly sad. We all make choices in this life and I don't presume to question Henderson's, but there were a lot of WTF moments for me. Beautifully written, but relentlessly sad. We all make choices in this life and I don't presume to question Henderson's, but there were a lot of WTF moments for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    While the prose is beautiful, the narrative celebrates a deeply toxic relationship that ultimately draws 2 children into its poisonous orbit. I have such conflicting feelings about Eleanor: is she a woman with inexhaustible patience and empathy? Or is she simply playing into the trope of the wife/mother who must sacrifice everything for her family? I sympathize with their search for a diagnosis, for I understand the desire to put a name to symptoms, but it seems like they had a lackadaisical app While the prose is beautiful, the narrative celebrates a deeply toxic relationship that ultimately draws 2 children into its poisonous orbit. I have such conflicting feelings about Eleanor: is she a woman with inexhaustible patience and empathy? Or is she simply playing into the trope of the wife/mother who must sacrifice everything for her family? I sympathize with their search for a diagnosis, for I understand the desire to put a name to symptoms, but it seems like they had a lackadaisical approach to therapy—when mental health is clearly what most needed to be prioritized—and relied more on medical doctors for answers. I will be thinking about this one for a while.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    When Eleanor Henderson and her husband, Aaron, chose the Billie Holiday tune that provides her memoir’s title as their wedding song, they couldn’t have imagined how painfully prophetic a description of their marriage it would be. EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS is a meticulously detailed, often grueling account of Aaron’s decade-long battle with a bewildering assortment of mental and physical ailments that would test the limits of even the healthiest union and reveals medicine’s frustrating inability When Eleanor Henderson and her husband, Aaron, chose the Billie Holiday tune that provides her memoir’s title as their wedding song, they couldn’t have imagined how painfully prophetic a description of their marriage it would be. EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS is a meticulously detailed, often grueling account of Aaron’s decade-long battle with a bewildering assortment of mental and physical ailments that would test the limits of even the healthiest union and reveals medicine’s frustrating inability to address some intractable conditions. Henderson, who teaches writing at Ithaca College, begins her story in 2011, when Aaron first experiences an unexplained rash, along with pain, weight loss and fatigue. These symptoms, and others in an evolving downward spiral, launch the couple on a seemingly endless search for a definitive diagnosis and treatment, leading them through an ever-lengthening list of medical specialties and a good-sized pharmacopeia of prescription drugs. At one time or another, Aaron is diagnosed with schizophrenia, delusional parasitosis and Lyme disease. Doctors even consider if he has the vestigial remains of a twin growing in his abdomen. As Henderson chronicles Aaron’s struggles, ones exacerbated by alcoholism and drug use, she simultaneously journeys back to their first meeting in a record shop in North Palm Beach, Florida, when she was 17 and he was 24. Even she admits she might have sensed that “our worlds were not aligned, what an act of will it would take, for us to fit the facts of our lives together.” But their attraction was instantaneous, and Aaron even followed his new girlfriend, who called herself “Nell” at the time, to Vermont after she enrolled at Middlebury College. Aaron, a high school dropout who eventually secures his GED, has never followed a conventional path. He doesn’t experience any periods of sustained employment, and his most successful effort to generate real income involves selling off his father’s collectibles on eBay after he’s incapacitated by a stroke. Even in the idyllic early days of their relationship, there’s a sense of impending crisis. Both Aaron and Eleanor emerge from outwardly comfortable circumstances that nonetheless seem to contain the seeds of future problems. Aaron’s treatment exposes a history of sexual abuse, while Eleanor learns only as an adult of her father’s long-ago episode of paranoid schizophrenia and suicide attempt. One of the book’s recurring themes is the quest to discover if Aaron’s persistent rashes and skin lesions reveal that he’s suffering from Morgellons disease, a controversial affliction whose victims insist, among other things, that fibers are emerging from their skin. In the essay “The Devil’s Bait,” in her book THE EMPATHY EXAMS, Leslie Jamison reports on a Morgellons conference and explores the controversy over whether the disease is even legitimate. “This isn’t an essay about whether Morgellons disease is real,” Jamison writes. “That’s probably obvious by now.” The ambiguity of that statement infuriates Eleanor. She and Aaron even travel to Germany to attend a similar event, but they leave feeling no closer to an answer to that vexing question. Anyone who is dubious about the connection between mind and body when it comes to health might be persuaded to question that position after reading this book. Aaron’s suffering is compounded by stress, and from Henderson’s description of the days he spends in isolation in their bedroom or obsessed with the appearance of some new, often bizarre, symptom, he’s never far from the edge of an emotional collapse triggered by his physical ailments. Although Henderson, whose highly praised first novel TEN THOUSAND SAINTS was based on stories from Aaron’s childhood and teenage years, is an elegant and observant writer, EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS is often a difficult book to read. The account of Aaron’s ailments, along with at least one suicide attempt and a psychiatric ward hospitalization, is almost unrelentingly grim, and even the occasional bright moments are quickly eclipsed by a fresh onslaught of problems. Amid all of this, the couple deals with the normal challenges of raising two young sons, and it’s terrifying to reflect on all the suffering the boys endured in the chaos of the household. Unfortunately, Henderson’s decision to employ a non-chronological narrative as they work their way from Florida to Vermont, New York City, Florida again, Charlottesville, Virginia, and finally, Ithaca --- 12 homes in all --- makes the attempt to pinpoint specific events in time difficult and renders her account, which ends with the arrival of COVID-19 early last year, at times unnecessarily opaque. “Perhaps every marriage is a madness,” Henderson reflects. “To agree to see the world the way another sees the world --- what is that vow but a shared delusion?” For Aaron and Eleanor, that often perilous but intensely loving journey continues, even as she acknowledges the constant tension between the notions that “marriage can mean plotting an escape all the time and choosing to stay anyway.” One can only wish them well and hope that if something that might be called a cure isn’t available to Aaron, they can find a status that feels like a true safe harbor from all the storms they’ve endured. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meg Tippett

    5/5 ⭐️: This was the best memoir I have ever read. Memoirs are usually hit or miss for me and I have a hard time staying engaged when reading about someone's life. But, this was not the case with this novel. Eleanor's writing is absolutely gorgeous provides incredibly raw, detailed, graphic, descriptions of her husband's illness and the very real emotions that follow along. I genuinely could not put this book down and would find myself reading chapter after chapter with absolutely no sense of ti 5/5 ⭐️: This was the best memoir I have ever read. Memoirs are usually hit or miss for me and I have a hard time staying engaged when reading about someone's life. But, this was not the case with this novel. Eleanor's writing is absolutely gorgeous provides incredibly raw, detailed, graphic, descriptions of her husband's illness and the very real emotions that follow along. I genuinely could not put this book down and would find myself reading chapter after chapter with absolutely no sense of time. It was so easy to get lost in Eleanor's story and I felt such an ache every time a doctor failed to diagnose Aaron's mystery. I can't get over this memoir OMG!!!! I HIGHLY recommend this. The writing is great, the story is SO enthralling, and the testimony to love is crystal clear. PLEASE check TW/CW for this. (suicide, self-harm, alcoholism, drug use, anxiety, depression)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Betty Adams

    Another 4.5; this a memoir is interesting; a martyr enables her husband who may be the worst example of entitlement in recent memory. Some may see her as a paragon of love - not me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Choices. Of which she had many, early on in their relationship. Adding children to the mix floored me. It should have been a DNF. However, against better judgement, I hung in to see some sort of resolution. 😑 Narrator kept things moving, but the flash back and flash forward was dizzying.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Becca Kemp

    I've tried two times to read this book and I just...cannot. I gave up 35% of the way in this time. Aaron is the worst and Eleanor enables him. Enough said. I've tried two times to read this book and I just...cannot. I gave up 35% of the way in this time. Aaron is the worst and Eleanor enables him. Enough said.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Peter T

    DNF, did not care for characters, there was no story. Won’t read anything from this author again.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Did not finish. Tedious.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan Jackson

    This memoir is a tedious train wreck. I’m not sure who’s more disturbed, the author”s husband or the author. Most disturbing is the apparent lack of concern for the welfare of their two young children who seem to be continually exposed to the never ending shit show.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book is beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are two competing themes in the memoir: (1) a medical mystery to determine what is wrong with Aaron; and (2) the love story between Eleanor and Aaron. The medical mystery is captivating for awhile, but once the author decided that there was no cure, her loss of interest in the theme becomes very apparent. The love story is beautifully written, but the author does a disservice by writing with a non-linear timeline because it make This book is beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are two competing themes in the memoir: (1) a medical mystery to determine what is wrong with Aaron; and (2) the love story between Eleanor and Aaron. The medical mystery is captivating for awhile, but once the author decided that there was no cure, her loss of interest in the theme becomes very apparent. The love story is beautifully written, but the author does a disservice by writing with a non-linear timeline because it makes the love story unnecessarily confusing. The main problem with the book is that the author wants to make the medical mystery seem more legitimate than it is. She does this with the non-linear theme so that you spend more of the book thinking that there might be an eventual cure or at the very least a diagnosis of the medical condition or a confirmation that the issue is psychological. I also wish that the author had spent some time addressing the fact that she chose to have children with a man that had serious physiological and psychological issues. She writes about how she tried to shield her children from Aaron's meltdowns, the excessive blood evidence from probing his lesions, the alcoholism, and the suicide attempts, but that is at best naive. The author has some excellent passages about her analysis of whether Aaron's problems were physiological or psychological and the book would have been much better if she applied the same honesty to her decision to have children with a damaged person. Regardless of the flaws, I enjoyed the writing style and I respect the author's attempts to write in a more unconventional style.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Eleanor's story of her years with her husband, Aaron, who has had/may have: schizophrenia, alcoholism, Lyme's, parasites, and more. I'm giving this four stars because it affected me a lot while I was reading it and I think it was an act of bravery for the author to write it. She has a lot of problems herself, including co-dependent issues, and admits this. Aaron's medical issues were heartbreaking and while a lot of them were probably caused or exacerbated by his drug and alcohol use, there are a Eleanor's story of her years with her husband, Aaron, who has had/may have: schizophrenia, alcoholism, Lyme's, parasites, and more. I'm giving this four stars because it affected me a lot while I was reading it and I think it was an act of bravery for the author to write it. She has a lot of problems herself, including co-dependent issues, and admits this. Aaron's medical issues were heartbreaking and while a lot of them were probably caused or exacerbated by his drug and alcohol use, there are also mental health and physical health issues at play. To someone looking into this story of his cycles of flare ups, it would be easy to judge and basically say that he and his wife are doing everything wrong. But I get the despair that comes when you have a chronic condition that's always there - always, all the time - and you're in pain and you just need something to help. Aaron goes through a round robin of doctors - it's probably something neurological, go here and try these drugs; wait, that didn't work? Ok, it's probably mental, go here and try these drugs; wait, that didn't work? it's probably something neurological... Try that for years and see how it feels. I've been there in a tiny way (compared to him) and understand the frustration and pissed-off-ness. I wouldn't want to be in the relationship they have but kudos to the author for writing about it in a way that exposes all their pain to the readers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate (kate_reads_)

    “In sickness and in health” - everyone is familiar with these words in marriage vows. In Everything I Have Is Yours, we witness a marriage that is being tested through this vow. Eleanor and Aaron met and started dating when they were very young and got married a few years later. Aaron is struggling with unexplained illness - is it actually physical? Is it mental illness? He also struggles with alcohol, drugs, depression and suicidal ideation. Eleanor struggles with how to help him through all of “In sickness and in health” - everyone is familiar with these words in marriage vows. In Everything I Have Is Yours, we witness a marriage that is being tested through this vow. Eleanor and Aaron met and started dating when they were very young and got married a few years later. Aaron is struggling with unexplained illness - is it actually physical? Is it mental illness? He also struggles with alcohol, drugs, depression and suicidal ideation. Eleanor struggles with how to help him through all of this. How to believe him. How to best take care of him and also herself and their children. This isn’t an easy memoir to read but it feels so true - like we are Eleanor’s close friend she is confiding in, even the things that don’t reflect well on her. When I read a memoir, I do it to learn about someone having different life experiences than mine and this definitely provided that. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance reading copy.

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