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The Geography of Love
Glenda Burgess
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The Geography of Love

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  411 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
A heartbreakingly moving memoir proves that it is better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all. '... all I had ever felt about love's ability to vanquish everything, to swallow heartbreak, to correct history, Burgess makes us believe.' - Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the Deep End of the Ocean there are magical moments in life that part time and change everyth ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by HarperCollins - AU (first published August 5th 2008)
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Jul 22, 2008 Sandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Sandi by: Getting this under First Reads program
Shelves: 2008, first-reads
I’m not going to mark this review as having spoilers. If you read the blurb about the book and you read enough books and watch enough movies, it’s pretty obvious how this book will end. “The Geography of Love” is a voyage, not a destination. The outcome is not what is important here.

As a youth, I used to read tragic books about people dying too young from terrible diseases. There was “Sunshine” about a young wife and mother dying of cancer who made tape recordings for her baby daughter because
Centered around her whirlwind love affair and marriage to Ken Grunzweig, Glenda Burgess recounts the couple's life together, and her husband's battle with lung cancer in It's difficult to admit that I disliked a book that from the outset promises to tell a heartbreaking life story, but I confess: the book turned me off completely. I don't doubt that Burgess loved her husband fiercely and valiantly, or that she and her family suffered much during his excruciating cancer treatments, but I found he ...more
Oct 30, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a wonderful book with a lot of heart and substance. A rare find and that I have recommended to my close friends and family!
Charlotte Libov
I feel like a piker giving this exquisitely written and very sincere book only three stars, but I feel a bit like the victim of a "bait and switch." I can almost hear the marketing department at Broadway Books say, "Let's not market this as a cancer memoir, let's market it as something else." From the long back cover description, I thought this might be more of a suspenseful read, as it maps out the author's meeting and decision to marry despite the fact that he was twice-widowed and the prime s ...more
Rhonda Rae Baker
This was an absolutely beautiful memoir! Be sure you read it with a box of tissues by your side...I was moved with such emotions.

I think this is such an amazing story...I was moved by the characters and came to love each of them. Understanding the love they had for each other and relating to their feelings, my heart was wrenched and yet thankful they had time to express their appreciation for one another.

When my family was taken from me, there was no warning, no opportunity to honor, or express
Aug 12, 2008 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: medical students, maybe? see review.
Before I describe what I didn't like about this book, I must disclose that I don't generally care for memoirs in the first place, so that may have tainted my reading experience. Had I not received this through the goodreads firstread program, I would have stopped reading after a few chapters. Here we go:

1) I never escaped the feeling that I was reading someone's diary, and it made me uncomfortable.

2) One of the joys of reading is recommending books to others. To whom can one recommend a book abo
Jan 15, 2010 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked this book up a couple of things held my interest right away...the first being that it was a memoir, the second being the love story, the third being the mystery it seemed to hold of a woman marrying a man who was twice before married...both women dead in tragic ways! When I read this, I thought...WHAT...and she was still willing to marry him...what a crazy woman!! Well, the love story faction comes through and holds your attention, especially as you read and discover what the reali ...more
Won this in the First Reads giveaway and it's been sitting on my shelf since mid July. Really should get on this one.

***So I finished this book a couple of weeks ago. I mostly read it on the train (I take it 1-2x per week which is why it took so long to finish) and I'm just glad I read the last few chapters at home. I seriously didn't stop bawling my eyes out for an entire hour while I finished this. I'm not a huge fan of Burgess' writing style. She comes off a bit pretentious, especially when t
Aug 12, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this book. I wasn't sure that I was going to like it. I received it in the mail yesterday. I finished it this morning. I will probably read it again. This is more than just a love story. I found it to be a tribute and not only a tribute to Ken but a tribute to love, a tribute to family, and a tribute to individual members of the families involved. Even with all the sadness and illness, I wanted to be a member of this loving family. There appeared to be so much respect, unconditional love, ...more
Katie Lowry
Nov 08, 2015 Katie Lowry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you liked Eat Pray Love, you'll love this.
That said, I hated Eat Pray Love and I hated this. The writing style and the author were just not for me. At all.
I found myself wondering if she was looking back on conversations and imagining they happened a little more eloquently than they did at the moment - because who tells her husbands nurse to "take exquisite care of this man"? Really?
It felt at times like reading someone's grocery list. Yes, this is part of your life...but why should I care
Sep 08, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book started out a little slow and I thought I was not going to like it. I kept reading and then I could not put it down. It makes you realize how short life really is and that you need to embrace every moment of it. The author shares with us a story I am sure was hard to go through yet again. You could actually feel her joy and pain as you read. Definitely a must read book!
Oct 30, 2007 Bookgirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This book is LOVE STORY on steroids! One of most moving and eloquently written memoirs of a passionate releationship, strained by the circumstances of life. Moving, heartfelt, and completely satisfying - it wil make you cry. I loved it, and learned that the life we hold in our hands is precious and fleeting - one must celebrate every moment.

Aug 22, 2009 Jacinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read
I'm not going to lie, when I first started reading this book I found it to be over the top sappy. It wasn't until I got to page 100 or so that I realized I had to endure the sap to fully comprehend this book. A bit slow to start but totally worth it. Make sure you have tissues in hand when reading the last 30 pages or so!

Sandy James
Sep 07, 2009 Sandy James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very touching story, told in a way that made me feel like I was a friend of the author. The telling is so personal and poignant, I imagine there are few people who wouldn't be moved by it. It's not the usual type of story I'd choose to read, but I'm really glad I did.
Nov 30, 2008 Glenda rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: treasures, author
AUGUST 5th...
Hello My Friends!
Toast your tea cup, lift a latte, uncork that vintage red... THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE goes on sale today!
Thank you for supporting my work, championing this book, and making every step of the process so meaningful. You're the best!

Mar 09, 2016 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a tough one. Reading about cancer is hard. Awful. Horrible. I feel for the author and her family and all they had to go through. She clearly loved her husband and lived a beautiful love story prior to the cancer diagnosis.

That said, I had a really hard time understanding the author's bizarre relationship with nearly everyone else - her mother, her siblings, her step-daughter, her sister in law, God...I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I did feel sorry for her, though, as she tried
Mandy Faust
Sep 16, 2009 Mandy Faust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
A bit overwritten in the first two sections, but the last section is an amazingly touching story. Bawled my eyes out....not for those who are hormonal.
Nov 30, 2007 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a good book I was told
Erin Sipes
Sep 17, 2009 Erin Sipes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
When Glenda Burgess meets Ken Grunzweig he has been widowed twice, is 14 years her senior, and has a troubled relationship with his teenage daughter. He does not seem like the perfect man to get involved with, but Glenda knows deep in her soul that they are meant to be together. They build a wonderful life together, having two children and creating the life they both longed for until after 15 years of marriage their world is turned upside down by a shadowy spot on Ken's lung. The ensuing fight a ...more
Magic and reality meet in Glenda Burgess‘s The Geography of Love: A Memoir.

Ken, fifty-ish, widowed twice and a father to a problematic teen, and Glenda, a middle-aged careerwoman who believed in her instinct, fell in love with each other.

Glenda’s instincts told her that she was going to marry the man sitting across from her somewhere in Spokane. How they fell in love and decided to get married were all part of the magic. However, this love borne out of magic was tested by harsh reality: Ken was
Mar 10, 2011 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such an enjoyable read, the perfect weekend book. Not many books can make me cry but this one did. The story follows the love between 2 people: Glenda and Ken and the family they create. They have an uncanny connection-emotionally and physically. The connection is almost supernatural and the love so tender. In one passage, Ken quotes a poem "Everything conspires to haunt me here with memory and thought and sense of you...the silver aspen on whose bark I carved your name and mine within ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The Geography of Love is a beautiful, moving, uplifting, and heartbreaking memoir. Glenda Burgess has given us a remembrance of her marriage, and her husband that carries such a core of truth that it is difficult to put it down.

After a successful career with the State Department, Glenda has decided to return to the United States and start fresh. She meets a man, Ken, 13 years her senior who has already been widowed twice, his first wife died in a car accident, and his second wife was murdered i
Jul 08, 2012 Yitka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautiful book. I'm glad that it was marketed as a love story, because had it been marketed as a cancer story (which, in all honesty, would be more accurate), I likely wouldn't have picked it up. Cancer terrifies me, and in many ways, Glenda's story is a terrifying one - it details, with unflinching frankness, just how deeply cancer can ravage the body, and at times, the spirit. However, she tells the entire story of Ken's struggle with such tenderness, heart, passion and poetry, that ...more
Sep 16, 2009 Missy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At 30 years old, Glenda Burgess was worried that time was running out for her to find someone to share her life with. She was not married, had a great job working for the State Department and traveled extensively with her job. She wanted to find love and settle down.

She decided to quit her job and move back to Spokane, WA where she was originally from, and where her mother still resided. Upon arriving at her mother's farm, Glenda explains to her mother her plans for change, and her mother offers
Sep 11, 2008 Andrea marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Andrea by: I won this book on Goodreads!!
Shelves: own-a-copy, priority
I was fortunate last night to be able to hear a reading by this author at our local independent bookstore, Third Place Books (in Lake Forest Park, Washington: Check it out!). It was a very intimate reading and it was quite wonderful to experience this authors' story on such a personal level. The writing in this memoir is quite beautiful, made more so when hearing it spoken by Ms. Burgess herself. If she is making a stop in your town, you should definately try to catch the reading. I do make two ...more
Jul 28, 2008 Jessie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone willing to stick out a boring start.
This book is divided into three parts. Unfortunately, the first two parts did not inspire much emotion in me and left me completely uninvested in the protagonist. Fortunately, the third part was thoroughly engrossing as well as the bulk of the book. I've spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what changed between these sections of the book that my reactions should be so markedly different. The writing style appears consistent. Perhaps the author is more adept at conveying the fight, hurt ...more
Jul 27, 2010 Roberta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although this a completely different story, this book reminded me a lot of "Eat, Pray, Love". To be more exact, Glenda Burgess reminded me a lot of Elizabeth Gilbert in that she is very self-involved, although totally devoid of Elizabeth Gilbert's sense of humor. Glenda Burgess is so earnest, so emotional, so phony. Her biggest concern during the time her husband was dying of cancer is that she missed the sex. WHAT! That's the worst part of his dying?

I did find two quotes I really liked despite
Aug 06, 2008 Ariell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want a heart warming experience
Recommended to Ariell by: Goodreads
My copy of this book arrived today. So I will commence reading it right away. I am excited to participate in this first reads give away program.

I as excited to participate in the program, having the opportunity to read it prior to it's release. I admit I was a little apprehensive about reading a memoir at first. It is not the type of book I have had an interest in before. Not that I was opposed to it either, rather just indifferent.

The Geography of Love was a significantly touching book for. It
Feb 21, 2012 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book a couple of years ago at a bookswap and didn't get around to reading it until now. At first I thought it would be a cheesy love story, as everything was all so perfect in the first 30 pages and I was worried that the rest of the book was going to be equally too much perfection. Of course, I hadn't read the back of the book to learn what this story was about. But essentially, the love story really ironically becomes alive to me when Ken (the husband) is detected with cancer. ...more
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"Burgess' tender recollections...remind us all that we tend to be defined by our great loves well after we've lived them." - Elle Magazine

"I read Glenda Burgess' poignant and harrowing memoir, THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOVE, in one sitting-- in one breath -- and all I had ever felt about love's ability to vanquish everything, to swallow heartbreak, to correct history, Burgess makes us believe. And in a fa
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“Physicists say we are made of stardust. Intergalactic debris and far-flung atoms, shards of carbon nanomatter rounded up by gravity to circle the sun. As atoms pass through an eternal revolving door of possible form, energy and mass dance in fluid relationship. We are stardust, we are man, we are thought. We are story.” 25 likes
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