As a charter subscriber in 1968 for a new magazine, called New York, I’d read it cover to cover, often admiring the feature articles by a writer named Linda Wolfe. I’d secretly wish I could write as well as she, not to mention write for a magazine as massively popular as New York. Linda later became a renowned author of non-fiction books, including Wasted: The Preppie Murder 1989 and THE LITERARY GOURMET: Menus From Masterpieces. She was considered part of the journalist intelligentsia. She still is.
Three years ago, a new tenant was moving into the big apartment down the hall. “She’s a writer,” one of the doormen told me. (New York City doormen know about absolutely everyone who lives in their buildings; they’re our local FBI agents.) He didn’t know her name. When my new neighbor and I shared an elevator, we smiled and introduced ourselves. Of course, you’ve surely guessed it by now: Linda Wolfe was going to live 50 feet from me! Now I could admire Linda Wolfe up close and personal. I was thrilled.
Linda subsequently became a dear friend, not to mention the book reviewer for FabOverFifty. Although we were forced out of our apartments last year (when the building’s new owners started converting the units from rentals to condos), we’ve remained friends who live on opposite ends of town. Linda is one of the smartest, warmest, and most stimulating women I know.
A couple of weeks ago I gave Linda a party for her latest book, My Daughter, Myself: An Unexpected Journey. The memoir is extra special, whether or not you personally know Linda, because it’s the personal story of her 38-year-old daughter’s near-fatal stroke, initial misdiagnosis, the grueling physical and mental rehab that led to Jessica’s remarkable recovery, and how the journey from illness to health affected every member of the family.
I wanted to reprint the first paragraph of the book here, because it immediately grabs you, just like every single thing Linda has ever written and will write in the future:
“The nightmare began, although I didn’t recognize it at the time, on a Mother’s Day weekend a few years ago. I was in San Antonio, Texas, having flown down from my home in New York City to spend the weekend with my daughter, Jessica, her husband, and their children, my two young granddaughters. Sometime in the black-as-pitch hours before dawn on Sunday morning, Jessica was startled into wakefulness by a splitting headache. She went to the bathroom, used the toilet, splashed water on her face, and was headed back to bed, when suddenly one of her legs gave way beneath her and she fell.”
Called by one esteemed author “a universal testament to the mother/daughter bond,” My Daughter, Myself reveals Linda’s exceptional ability to look as much inward as outward. While Linda learns the foreign language of hospitals and illness, she also learns how to translate her and her daughter’s feelings and actions. Just like the flesh and blood Linda I know, the Linda you meet in the book is funny, passionate, insightful, a brilliant observer and a font of information about a serious medical issue that affects 1 in 1,000 people 45 and younger.
I strongly urge you to click right on over to amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, order My Daughter, Myself, and start reading the first opportunity you get.
Although you may not be blessed to count Linda Wolfe as your dear friend, you’ll wish she were when you’re done.