The hot-button issue of unregulated health-care costs underscores this engaging memoir of marriage and terminal illness.
Bennett (In Memoriam, 1997, etc.), a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and executive editor at Bloomberg News, met Terence Foley at a party while on assignment in China in 1983. Lounging on a sofa in a bow tie and horn-rimmed glasses, he plied the lonesome, deadline-driven reporter with tall tales of being a Fulbright Scholar—in reality, however, he was the wacky director of the American Soybean Association. Nevertheless, this became their “signature story,” and a lifetime love was born for Bennett and her visceral, fastidiously dressed beau, 12 years her senior. Their eccentric, restless 20-year marriage produced two children (one biological, one adopted) and plenty of highs and lows, all recounted through the author’s droll, conversational anecdotes. Foley’s colon cancer was diagnosed in late 2000, followed by the discovery of a rare, aggressive kidney carcinoma, which may (or may not have) contributed to his death. Bennett discovered the ambiguity of his diagnosis while poring over her husband’s medical records. While retracing the path of his terminal prognosis, she uncovered a flawed system of mismanaged lab information, astronomical insurance charges and conditional physician reimbursements. The author leaves readers with more questions than answers after dealing with an industry that sets prices “like a giant Chinese bazaar” yet facilitated her husband’s participation in experimental clinical trials.
A moving, beautifully written chronicle of true love and a clarion call for health-care reform.