I don’t like to call people stubborn and wrong-headed, but there’s no other way to describe Arbabella “Annie” Stevens-Strauss. She’s had some problems in her life – a difficult relationship with her mother, an inability to have children - but she also has a loving husband in Sam, a thriving business in Annie’s Samwiches in her hometown of Passamaquoddy, Maine, and a loyal rock in her best friend Rachel. And then Annie goes to a doctor and gets a disturbing cancer diagnosis. Does she turn to one of these folks for support? No, she decides to write a manual on how Sam should live his life after she dies. To be fair, who among us always makes the right decision in a crisis? And if we had, what plot would there be in our novel? The joy of Medwed’s latest is to root for Annie as she extracts herself from this mess. Yes, some of it is of her own making, but who among us doesn’t want the ability to change, the grace to be forgivable, and the awareness that we can make some good choices? Oh, and did I mention that Minus Me is funny too?— Daniel Goldin
Her life turned upside down by a grim diagnosis, a small-town Maine woman sets about writing a "How To" life manual for her handsome yet hapless husband in a novel Elinor Lipman (Good Riddance, On Turpentine Lane) calls "smart, funny-quirky, and so very satisfying."
Annie and her devoted but comically incompetent childhood sweetheart Sam are the owners and operators of Annie's, a gourmet sandwich shop, home to the legendary Paul Bunyan Special Sandwich--their "nutritionally challenged continual source of income and marital harmony and local fame."
But into their mostly charmed marriage comes the scary medical diagnosis for Annie--and the overwhelming challenge of finding a way to help Sam go on without her. Annie decides to leave Sam step-by-step instructions for a future without her, and considers her own replacement in his heart and their bed.Her best-laid plans grind to a halt with the unexpected appearance of Ursula, Annie's Manhattan diva of a mother, who brings her own brand of chaos and disruption into their lives.
Minus Me is a poignant and hilarious novel about the bonds of marriage, the burdens of maternal love, and the courage to face mortality, "with an ending readers will cherish (Caroline Leavitt, Pictures of You)."
"Medwed's lovely novel of marriage, motherhood, love and loss is so real that at times it feels like non-fiction. It's a timely reminder that in the worst of times, we sometimes rediscover the very best of ourselves." --Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light.
About the Author
Born in Maine and named for two grandmothers, Mamie and Eva (pronounced May-Meeve), Bangor's "other" writer (after Stephen King), Mameve Medwed is the author of five novels, Mail, Host Family, The End of an Error, How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life. (2007 Massachusetts Book Award Honors in Fiction) and Of Men and Their Mothers. She has published essays in three anthologies: How to Spell Chanukah (Algonquin), My Bookstore (Black Dog and Leventhal) and What My Mother Gave Me (Algonquin). Her short stories, essays, and book reviews have appeared in, among others, the New York Times, Gourmet, Yankee, Redbook, Playgirl, The Boston Globe, Ascent, The Missouri Review, Confrontation, Newsday and The Washington Post. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Praise for Minus Me:
"[A] bright and poignant story."
“Medwed’s appealing characters make Minus Me a thoughtful story about the promises that family members make to one another, about what it truly means to live, and about what people hope to pass on after they die.”
“Impressively original, deftly crafted, emotionally elegant, and downright comedic.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Medwed’s lovely novel of marriage, motherhood, love and loss is so...A timely reminder that in the worst of times, we sometimes rediscover the very best of ourselves.”
—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light
"A profoundly warm and intimate novel about what it means to try to manage the tumult in our life—and the life of a loved one...Sprightly and absolutely delightful with an ending readers will cherish."
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
“A delightful romp of a novel....Surely this is the feel good book of the year!
—Ann Hood, New York Times bestselling author of The Book That Matters Most
"Minus Me is a charming and hopeful story about love and destiny...about the family you have and the family you choose in the mouth-watering milieu of a gourmet sandwich shop...A perfect read to escape the world."
—Miriam Parker, author of The Shortest Way Home
"So much to love! Minus Me is vintage Medwed: smart, funny-quirky, and so very satisfying."
—Elinor Lipman, author of Good Riddance and On Turpentine Lane
"Medwed writes with heart and charm, warmth and wisdom. She knows how to evoke laughter and tears, balance the joys and the challenges of the complicated relationships she describes, and bring to life an entire Maine town."
—Stephen McCauley, author of My Ex-Life
“Witty and charming from start to finish.”
—Jill McCorkle, New York Times bestselling author of Hieroglyphics
Praise for How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life:
“An adventure to which Jane Austen might have raised a celebratory glass of port...A whole lot of fun.”
“Charming and funny without being precious, Abby’s a thoroughly believable character.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“Don’t be deceived by Medwed’s light touch and irrepressible sense of humor... a canny writer with a distinctive voice.”
Praise for Of Men and Their Mothers:
“The mother-in-law...Does she still have any power left after decades of pummeling? In Mameve Medwed’s new novel, ‘Of Men and Their Mothers,’ she certainly does. Ina Pollack, Maisie Grey’s loathsome ex-mother-in-law, can raise the reader’s pulse with a single phone call.”
—New York Times Book Review