The Urgent Life
My Story of Love, Loss, and Survival
"The Urgent Life shines a bright light on the intricacies of the shadows she’s been in, and illuminates the beauty of her urgent life.” —Serena Williams
From iconic leader Bozoma Saint John, comes a memoir of grief, and one woman's drive to thrive in the face of loss
When Bozoma Saint John's husband, Peter, died of cancer, she made one big decision: to live life urgently. Bozoma was no stranger to adversity, having lost her college boyfriend to suicide, navigated an interracial marriage, grieved a child born prematurely--a process that led to her and Peter's separation--and coparented the daughter who she and Peter shared. When Peter knew his cancer was terminal, he gave Bozoma a short list of things to do: cancel the divorce, and fix the wrongs immediately.
In The Urgent Life, Bozoma takes readers through the dizzying, numbing days of multiple griefs, and the courage which these sparked in her to live life in accordance with her deepest values time and time again. We witness Bozoma's journey forward through the highs and the lows, as she negotiates life as a woman determined to learn from tragedies to build a remarkable life worth living even in her brokenness.
Bozoma's story is extraordinary, but her grief is not uncommon, and her courage is sure to touch any reader who has loved, mourned and is finding a path through loss and grief, as well as anyone who is maneuvering a pivot and wants to live life to its fullest.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In this devastating yet uplifting memoir, marketing expert Bozoma Saint John focuses on her personal journey rather than her high-profile professional accomplishments. With unflinching honesty, Saint John details the emotional fallout of tragedies like her college boyfriend’s suicide and a late miscarriage which led to a three-year separation from her husband, Peter. Elsewhere, she delivers vulnerable, poetic insights about love during trying circumstances, flashing between the moment she fell in love with Peter and the clarity of vision she experienced in the wake of his terminal cancer diagnosis. True to its title, this memoir is a call to action about living your truth in the moment—and a testament to the faith necessary to reassemble the shattered pieces of your life into something inspiring and new.
Saint John captures in this uplifting debut how personal tragedies and regrets shaped her vow to "live life urgently." Born to Ghanaian immigrants, she married Peter, a second-generation Italian American in 2003, despite the disapproval of her strict parents. Their marriage foundered when troubles hit, including the death of their premature daughter after Saint John developed preeclampsia during her pregnancy. Her second pregnancy was successful, but Saint John's and Peter's mutual grief and cultural differences that were so hard to reconcile that t hey "created a valley so deep" between them that they separated with a plan to divorce. Then Peter was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and Saint John pledged to "no longer take anything for granted, not a love, not a moment." She recounts the trauma of waiting for him to die, reflecting that "when you're in darkness, instead of waiting for a ray of sun to appear, you sometimes have to find the light within." That wisdom carried Saint John through the last days of Peter's life, and she incorporated it into her career, as well, having held executive-level positions at Pepsi, Apple, and Netflix—where she became "the first and only Black person in the C-suite." Saint John's forthright approach and reliance on her spirituality are inspiring. Readers will be touched by this heartfelt message of hope. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME.
A story of resilience
This book grabs you immediately. Weaving in and out of times and spaces, the stories of love and loss will keep you captivated and unable to put this down. One of the best memoirs from someone who clearly has so much more to do. Hoping this the first of a series.