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Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Banged-Up Heart by Shirley Melis is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early--and of the strength it takes to fall madly in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again. When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then ...more
Published February 14th 2017 by Terra Nova Books
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Deborah Blanchard
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I do not usually read memoirs, however this book has changed that. This is the story of Shirley and John. Shirley's first husband, of 28 years had passed away suddenly 2 years before. She then meets John 2 years later and falls in love. However, John has cancer. This is their story and a story of strength and survival. This book is heartbreaking to read and yet at times uplifting as well. Losing 2 husbands in 4 years is absolutely devastating to me and I do not know how you move on. Yet, Shirley ...more
Ian Miller
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book covers two years of the author's life, and therefore the "plot" is a given and not up for discussion. Neither is the author's character. Of course she has flaws, and so does everyone else, but more to the point, a review of the autobiography is not the place to comment on them. Two years before the start, Shirley's husband, Joe, who was over twenty years older, died. Shirley was finally getting over this, and she began to engage in a social life again. In the following two years, she m ...more
Kathleen Pooler
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Living and loving again after a devastating loss is the main theme in Banged-Up Heart. This fast-paced memoir reads like a romance novel only with a powerful universal message for anyone who faces the loss of a beloved spouse, in this case two spouses within a span of four years. The pace slows as she reaches levels of awareness in her grief journey. There is life again after loss. I felt engaged in this story from the first page.

Melis’ writing is fluid and vivid with realistic dialogue, believa
Linda Shapiro
Interview with Shirley Melis, author of the recently published memoir, “BANGED-UP HEART”

About Shirley: 
Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How do you write a review when someone has opened her heart and soul to the world? Shirley Melis has been fortunate enough to have had two loving and thriving marriages, but the disadvantage to have lost them both. I believe Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss was written to allow Shirley a channel to pen her heartache and allow healing.

This would be an excellent book to give to a widow, or widower, when you just don’t have the words to say. Shirley gives hope, but she also shows strengt
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Banged-up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss”, a memoir by Shirley Melis, tells the story of a strong, resilient as she copes with loss, love, and life. Melis, was in her mid-60’s, just getting over mourning the sudden death of her first husband when she meets another love of her life, John. She and John, recently retired to pursue a dream to become a successful photographer, have a whirlwind courtship. John lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Melis lives outside of Washington, DC. He courts her v ...more
Kaye Stuart
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book and felt sad at the same time in regard to John's illness as I lost my husband of 47 years, 4 years ago with Glioblastoma Multiforme (a terminal brain cancer with no cure)so I could really relate to what Shirley was going through towards the end of his life. I found her writing very easy to read and appreciated the added details through the book, which kept my interest.. I could sense her love for John and how he was different to her first husband. Like Shirley I have ...more
Camilla Kattell
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Banged –Up Heart by Shirley Melis, a story of deep love and untimely death, will touch the hearts of those who have experienced the highs of exquisite joy and the lows of devastating tragedy. It can also serve to give understanding to those who haven’t yet had such an experience, as Ms. Melis shares all the transitions of going through emotional loss. It can help us all be thankful for those who haven’t had to address the painful questions of deep loss. Ms. Melis intimately shares her deepest fe ...more
Joyce Hertzoff
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
An emotional memoir is mainly about the short marriage of the author to her second husband and her coming to grips with his death. The book is well-written in a literary style. Mrs. Melis makes all the people come to life with details many memoirists and biographers fail to do. Two years after the death of her first husband, she met the love-of-her-life, John. An engineer, music-lover, photographer, etc., he died too young of an unexpected form of cancer. It took time but she realized she could ...more
Mar 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shirley Melis writes with passion and dedication in her book Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss. Her writing allowed me to feel that I was there with her as she unveiled the Loss of Love not once, but twice. Losing someone we have loved, and that has been a part of our life can be devastating. Shirley Melis, in this compelling novel of her personal experiences, takes her readers to understanding and hopefulness of finding Love again even after her losses. Showing that one can Dance agai ...more
Maxine Davenport
I loved this book.. Melis reveals her inner most thoughts and emotions and takes the reader along for an exciting journey of love and heartbreak, but leaving us with hope for a happy ending. I look forward to her next book.
Jade Pitman
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliant. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who's lost someone ...more
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Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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The encompassing idea of this book is you DON'T only get one. That's something I now know to be true, being happily married after a divorce. Love, loss, and moving on are all parts life and it's as ugly as it is beautiful. This novel lays out love and loss, not shying away from the nitty gritty. I mean that first date with Paul, um, awkward... in the most hilarious way. The marriage to Joe described so fully, all the betrayals included was both painful and honest. It made the rest of the story a ...more
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