The true story of how two adversaries became good friends.
When Martin became project superintendent in charge of building a new shopping mall in Ballard, Wash., he had no idea how his life would be changed by the one woman who refused to sell her house to the developers. Even though she'd been offered $1 million for her place, Edith wouldn't move. However, she was in her 80s and in need of help, so, with some trepidation, Martin took on the role of caregiver. After all, "this was a feisty old woman who seemed to have every intention of hanging on for a long time, and making my life as difficult as possible in the process." At first, he did little things, like driving Edith to her hair appointments, then he began cooking for her; eventually, as her health steadily declined, Martin became her main means of support. While the mall went up around her, Edith's personal walls came down, and Martin caught glimpses of the myriad, almost improbable lives she had lived. Told with frankness and sincerity, Martin, with the assistance of former USA Today editor Lerman, skillfully blends his deep desire to aid Edith with his frustrations with this cantankerous woman, his need to spend time with his own children and wife, and his thoughts and feelings toward his ailing parents. With a bit of humor and the determination to do right by this stranger-turned–close friend, Martin was able to help Edith do as she wished—spend the last years of her life in her home, surrounded by a lifetime's accumulation of books, music and trinkets.
A tender tribute to Edith and her will to do things her way.