Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Words with My Daughter, by Elizabeth B. Joyce and Kayla Allen

We have frequently looked at the work of illustrator/film-maker William Joyce (born 1957) in these pages.  Today we look at Words with My Daughter, an excerpt from an upcoming book by his wife, Elizabeth B. Joyce, written with Kayla Allen.  Words with My Daughter is Joyce’s memoir focusing on the harrowing experience of dealing with a terminally ill daughter.

Mary Katherine Joyce (1991-2010) was diagnosed with a brain tumor while only a teenager.  Young Mary Katherine graduated Magna Cum Laude from Caddo Magnet High School in May 2009, later attending the Sorbonne in Paris.  She would pass away in her 18th year.  In her memoir Elizabeth Joyce writes with candor and heart-breaking clarity on this tragedy as it unfolds, with words that reach directly to the heart.

The excerpt is available in the current issue of the Yale Review and online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/yrev.12247/epdf and it is free of cost.  It is a reading experience you will never forget.

Words with My Daughter is a very emotional narrative, filled with longing and loss, infused with that special brand of love that only a mother can provide.  Elizabeth Joyce has penned a very human document, and it is one of the most wrenching things I’ve read this year.

The accomplishment is all the more remarkable in light of Joyce’s current health.  She has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  Now bedridden, Joyce wrote this remarkable memoir with her eyes.  To write such a book while battling ill health is an indication of her remarkable strength of character, and her indomitable resolve.

The complete manuscript of Words with My Daughter has not yet landed with a publisher, but it is only a matter of time before this profound, moving and ultimately life-affirming memoir finds a home.  It is miraculous achievement and a stunning illustration of one mother’s love.  Go to the Yale Review and read it now.

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