A writer blends fiction and autobiography to tell the story of his wife’s perseverance.
By the time debut author Markman had met Macy, she had already lived an extraordinary life. After a devastating miscarriage, she stayed with her first husband, Wayne, and eventually gave birth to their son, Gino. With Wayne more preoccupied by his band than his young family, Macy was left to care for the struggling infant. By the time the doctors realized Gino’s constant crying and feeding were abnormal, it was too late. The baby had already suffered a major stroke and an immense spike in his blood sugar, leaving him insulin-dependent and wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. “But while the doctors kept using the word limitations, Macy heard the word challenges,” the author writes. And she did indeed experience many more challenges. Wayne would grow from negligent to outright abusive as Macy struggled to ensure Gino’s proper feeding and maintain her job in education. Eventually, with the support of her best friend, Jenny, Macy left Wayne and signed up for an online dating website, which allowed Markman to come into her story and begin narrating in the first person her ascent through the politics of the local school district as a principal, reading director, and Ph.D. candidate. The two slowly built a life together revolving around caring for Gino and the author’s own troubled son, Tommy. Markman’s admiration for Macy brightly shines through in every tale he re-creates—from the work’s opening, when she handles the news of 9/11 with utter professionalism and grace, to the moment she learns that she will become a principal 15 minutes before her first day starts. The author crafts a loving, humorous, and relatable character. But the switch from third to first person is somewhat jarring, changing the book from a novel to a memoir a third of the way through. Sticking to one point of view might have helped Markman to edit down the volume’s considerable length (over 450 pages) and focus on its essential theme: Macy’s inspiring tenacity.
While it needs streamlining, this moving tribute remains heartfelt and personal.