Review: A love story and a medical mystery all in one book
“Everything I Have Is Yours,” Eleanor Henderson (Flatiron Books)
A love story and medical mystery all in one, Eleanor Henderson’s memoir “Everything I Have Is Yours” chronicles her husband’s battle with an unidentifiable illness, as well as the toll it takes on their relationship and family.
Henderson takes readers through almost a decade of Aaron’s constantly evolving symptoms, from unexplainable lesions on his body to depression to hearing voices to Aaron’s absolute certainty that his body has been invaded by parasites. Together, the couple meet an endless stream of doctors and psychologists, who diagnose him with everything from schizophrenia to Bell’s palsy. Meanwhile, Aaron is not getting better, and the couple must also focus on raising their two children, as well as the other everyday challenges of marriage and family life.
As they attend medical conferences, couple’s therapy, and more, Henderson invites readers to question the link between mental and physical illness, asking herself what criteria is needed to make an illness real.
Interwoven with this journey, Eleanor also shares their love story, how they fell for each other at such young ages and remained ever-committed to building a life together.
Henderson’s writing will pull at your every heart string. She is raw, emotional, vulnerable. Through it all, she allows herself to be wholly human. As often as she does the right thing to help Aaron, Henderson also reveals all the times she said and did the wrong one, all the errors she made on her journey to be the best, most supportive wife she could be.
“Everything I Have Is Yours” is above all else, the story of a marriage that, like any, is filled with both an abundance of love and an abundance of obstacles. Henderson is able to craft the complexity of a relationship filled with understanding and mutual respect, yet at the same time, extreme disconnect.
Hers is the story of two people determined to overcome the hand that has been dealt to them, two people who love each other so deeply that they refuse to let anything tear them apart.