Book Review

Left on Tenth—A Second Chance at Life

Delia Ephron

Double Day

Reviewed by Daryl Crimp RRP $35

Delia Ephron is an acclaimed American author and screenwriter with a stellar track record: think box office movies Sleepless in Seattle, Michael and You’ve Got Mail and books The Lion Is In and Siracusa, and get the picture that she can craft a good story and write a compelling script.

However, in the memoir Left on Tenth, life imitates art when the script is written for Delia and she becomes the central character in what could easily be one of her best screenplays, or novels.

One of four author/writer sisters born to screenwriter parents, Delia carts an impressive lineage but tragedy struck when her sister Nora died from leukemia in 2012. Her soulmate and husband of 33 years, acclaimed screenwriter and author Jerome Kass, died of prostate cancer in 2015. Widowed in her seventies, life seems an empty shelf for Delia but a chance email exchange with a man she dated in college rekindles a romance fifty years dead.

Unbelievably, she realises she has found her second soulmate and, while caught up in this heady new romance, she discovers she is profoundly ill—facing death from leukaemia like her sister!

What follows is an often harrowing, tearful, poignant yet, at times, funny account of her battle with cancer set against the subtext of a deepening love affair and a second chance at life. From cutting edge experimental procedures through intense pain, crushing depression and suicidal lows, the story emerges as one of great romance and triumph of the human spirit. It will probably end up as a movie, completing the obvious circle where art imitates life!

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