Amanda Kloots bravely reflects on love, loss, and life with her husband, Broadway star and Tony-nominee Nick Cordero, whose public battle with Covid-19 and tragic death made headlines around the world.
In the early spring of 2020, Broadway star and Tony Award nominee Nick Cordero was hospitalized for what he and his wife, Amanda Kloots, believed was a severe case of pneumonia. Entering Cedars-Sinai, there was no indication that Nick—a young man in the prime of life with no pre-existing conditions—would never return home. Diagnosed with Covid-19, this rising star—who only a few days earlier was the picture of health—soon deteriorated. Suffering a series of complications – minor heart attacks, an amputation, sepsis—he was kept alive for weeks, hooked to a ventilator, bypass machines, dialysis, and a specialized heart-lung bypass machine.
Staying strong for Nick and their infant son, Elvis, Amanda shared their journey on social media, documenting Nick’s condition and the risks of Covid-19 for all ages. Her updates quickly made an impact, inspiring millions of followers around the globe who offered positive thoughts and virtual prayers, and danced each day to Nick’s hit song Live Your Life. When Nick passed away after 94 grueling days in the ICU, the world grieved for Amanda and her family’s devastating loss.
Live Your Life is her and Nick’s story: of their love and fairy-tale marriage, of the disease that quickly upended it, of the fight for Nick’s survival—those sudden tragic months that permanently changed her world and ours—of her grief and how she came to terms with his death, of keeping Nick’s memory alive for Elvis and the world. Offering courage and inspiration to anyone coping with overwhelming loss and written with her sister Anna Kloots who was with her every step of this journey, Amanda’s story is a thoughtful and poignant reflection on love, hope, motherhood, and the power of community in times of hardship. In sharing her experience, she shows us that, through positivity and community, even the most impossible circumstances can be endured.
Live Your Life includes 16 pages of color photos exclusive to the book.
I have some mixed feelings about this book. I learned about Amanda Kloots and her family from Instagram when her husband became one of the first public young faces of Covid. I’ve followed her ever since and was excited to read her book.
Things I liked:
I listened to the audio version, which, at times, was absolutely heartbreaking. The pain and devastation you can hear in her voice so many times was gut-wrenching. While it was often painful, listening to her tell her own story was also very enjoyable as she talked about some of the happier moments- times with family, her days in New York, etc.
I liked a lot of the anecdotes and stories of how her friends and family were there for her. Going back to the beginning of Covid in her eyes and hearing how it impacted people all over so differently was very interesting. She seems to have an amazing family and the times she spent with Todd and Anna were a heartwarming bright spot in the middle of tragedy.
Things I didn’t love:
While those who followed her Instagram would know, we were under an impression, though never explicitly stated, that she was unable to visit or be with Nick due to all of the Covid restrictions. You learn from the book that she was actually given special treatment and was permitted to visit him quite regularly. And while she attempts to mention that she knows this was a privilege, that is often undermined by her words and actions. While many people would have been so grateful to visit a dying family member even once, she is quite frustrated by the length and frequency of her often daily visits.
There is a scene where both she and her sister are loudly singing, dancing, and playing music for Nick in the ICU, remarking on what a sad place it is and that they should form a pep squad to cheer everyone up. All I could think about was how many families could only communicate with hospitalized loved ones via phones or iPads held up by the hospital staff, never getting to see or speak to their loved ones. They all likely would have welcomed the opportunity to cheer their own loved ones.
This sense of privilege and perhaps insensitivity didn’t strike me at the beginning of the book but it became very prevalent and a bit off-putting as it went one. While her husband was dying, she was consistently gifted with things- a home to use from an unnamed celebrity wife, Malibu beach house vacations, gourmet meal trains from Sarah Michelle Gellar, and an lucrative Go Fund Me that paid to refinish her home. While she was always very grateful about these things, this very comfortable lifestyle doesn’t ring true for most people who have lost a loved one to Covid or any other long-term illness. I think if he editor had helped to finesse some of those parts, it may have been better? It just got a little heavy at times.
That certainly doesn’t diminish the sadness and tragedy she and Nick endured. To hear of his struggle is truly heartbreaking.
Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero is Amanda Kloots' reflection on the life she shared with her late husband, Nick Cordero. In this memoir, she shares details about when they met, married, and eventually went on to have their beautiful son, Elvis. After moving to L.A. in late 2019 to follow Nick’s dream and further his career, he contracted a mysterious illness with unrelenting fatigue. It affected him for days until he progressed into a more serious condition which would eventually be diagnosed as Covid-19.
In an instant, Amanda and Nick’s lives were turned upside down. Nick was only 41, and in perfect health, which led everyone to believe that he would pull out of it without complications. He fought a hard battle while Amanda raced to chronicle his story with the world on social media. People from around the world began to pray and sing for Nick and the family. Amanda was determined to do everything she could to help Nick fight his illness, and with the help of their families, that’s exactly what she did.
I learned about Nick and Amanda through media not long after she began sharing their story. It was something I connected with straight away, and I began praying for them. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think of them. It was such a hopeless feeling to have, but Amanda’s positivity was intoxicating. They were all tenacious fighters. During such an early and uncertain time in the pandemic, everyone seemed to be in the same learn and go approach. We were all dealing with an infodemic of too much information—some accurate and some not—which made everything more confusing. I sympathized with Amanda and put myself in her shoes. After reading this book in its entirety and learning more about the other struggles she faced, I was literally aghast. One of the struggles I connected with pertained to the hospital rules due to the fragility of our healthcare system and all the big unknowns. The thought that your loved one could be sucked into the healthcare system and never be seen again is horrifying. I’ve dealt with a similar situation in my past although not as extreme. In Amanda’s case, following the hospital's rules created even more isolation and heartbreak.
What I loved most about this memoir is the way it’s written. This isn’t just a memoir about Nick’s battle with a virus and the aftermath that came with it, but it’s a reflection of Nick and Amanda’s relationship, their families, and their love for one another. It’s beautifully written and woven together perfectly with pieces of the past, giving the reader insight into their family lives growing up and how they banded together—bonding all over again during this crisis. It’s a story of hope, faith, perseverance, gratitude, and resilience in the face of a horrible pandemic. It’s also a story that shows the goodness of humanity and how it came out during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I have to mention the music and film references and the comical family anecdotes that were included because I loved them. The power of music and the strength of the family is evident, and it helped pull them all through. I imagine writing this book was a cathartic process for Amanda and her sister Anna, and it must have been difficult at times.
Overall, this was both a poignant and beautiful read. I can’t recall the last time a book caused me to be overcome with emotion like this. The biggest takeaway after reading this book follows the title to one of Nick’s songs and the title of this book, Live Your Life. Never take for granted a single day; treat each day as a gift, and live each day as if it’s your last.
Publication date: June 15th, 2021.
I'd like to thank NetGalley, the publisher, and the authors for sharing this book with me in exchange for my honest review.
Did this make me cry? Yes. Did it also make me a little annoyed? Yes.
I am not much of a theatre buff, but I read some news article about Nick Cordero being in the ICU for covid and how his wife Amanda was posting updates on Instagram about the experience. I decided to follow her account as this was still pretty early on in the pandemic times and it felt like a needed first-person insight into exactly why we all needed to take covid precautions seriously, even those of us who are young and healthy.
I remember feeling so upset that she couldn't visit him in the hospital and thinking how heartbreaking that must be to know your spouse is so sick and yet you can't even hold their hand even when they are covid negative for fear of somehow still spreading the virus. So imagine my surprise to read this book and find out that that was all a lie because Amanda actually did get to see Nick pretty often, due to special privileges of knowing rich and famous people with connections. Of course the hospital didn't want to let us commoners know that they were making an exception for her so they told her she had to lie about it if she wanted to keep getting special permission to visit him, which she did. So while we were all hoping she would get to visit him and were so happy when she finally announced that she was allowed to - she had already been seeing him for weeks. She's a great actress, I'll give her that.
There's a lot things like that in this book that just rubbed me the wrong way. The free housing, the free food, the special permission to fly in Nick's family from Canada, the free lavish first birthday party, the GoFundMe that paid for further house renovations etc. She repeatedly thanks everyone and comments on how lucky she was to get all of these things and how she knows others did not. But at the same time, she did manage to still complain quite a bit about how hospital staff were unwilling to try suggestions she got from random people on the internet, how they wouldn't let her visit him in the hospital as much as she would have liked, and how they wouldn't let her bring her son. Imagine being one of the very few people who actually got to go into the hospital as a visitor and then still constantly asking if you can come more often and for longer periods of time. She even complained about how the curfew due to BLM protests in L.A. shortened her visiting hours.
I did feel truly sad about how awful it must have been to have her husband so sick during a time when they were in the middle of moving into a new house that was undergoing renovations, while they both were out of work, while having an infant, and while living in a town with no other family who lived nearby. And then of course her husband did eventually pass away. Awful. No one should have to go through all of that.
So yes, this book made me very sad for her. But it also made me shake my head at how tone deaf it comes across at times.
I can certainly sympathize with the author and her story of loss, however, this was a slap in the face to all those who lost someone to covid. This felt dressed up and disingenuous from the beginning. It doesn't instill trust when you read " I just knew something was going to go wrong in my marriage" and " I didn't notice" how handsome he was. This was a handful of pages into the book. What remains is a story of privilege, a term I believe is thrown around too loosely these days and yet fits the bill perfectly in this case. You are continuously reminded of how many famous people the author knows and how many exceptions were made because of her and her husband's celebrity. 99.9% Of those affected by covid had to struggle daily and live with knowing that their loved ones died alone in a hospital. Amanda Kloots spent 300 pages describing how she was given everything she needed, while others fought tooth and nail to get by. Were you alone? Not Amanda, her whole family had the means to fly back and forth from both in and out of the country (even if they shouldn't have been able to get over the border, don't worry Amanda knows a guy). Did you struggle to get to groceries or pay rent? Not, Amanda, her celebrity friends had everything delivered to her and gave her very expensive places to live - for free (someone who seemed pretty well off to begin with). Did you fight just to get the smallest detail about a loved one's condition? Not Amanda, she had her own private team of doctors, multiple actually, at her every beck and call. The author seems to think that by briefly acknowledging these privileges once or twice she can then throw it in your face a hundred times. Let's address the Instagram lies because that's what it was right? The author seems to think that leading you to believe something different and simply omitting the truth is somehow different than lying. And she certainly didn't tell you on Instagram how often she was in the hospital while you were denied entry, did she? No, because that doesn't garner enough sympathy and grow your GoFundMe as well does it. Or help you gather your army to grow your fitness following, or start your own business, or apparently start writing a book all while your husband is in the ICU. She even had the audacity to tell you how in her mind she was jealous and angry of people getting back to normal and getting together, and in the very next breath tell you how she invited a friend over for " a socially distanced glass of wine". We believe you. I should not have been so angry reading a story about such a tragic loss....but I was. This did not help spread covid awareness. Those that believe it's not real, still don't. Everyone else already knew because they lived it, and without every resource one could hope for at their disposal.
I think Amanda Kloots is one of the most positive and inspiring people to have ever written a book.
In March of 2020, her husband, Nick Cordero, was hospitalized with the coronavirus. Live Your Life is the memoir of their lives together, his devastating illness, and her faith and abiding love for Nick and her family (and her family’s love for her).
I followed Amanda’s posts on instagram last year when Nick became sick, and even though I knew the tragic outcome, I wished for a different one the entire time I read. Amanda has that effect on you with her upbeat sincerity. When I got to the sad parts, I really, really cried, but when the book finished, Amanda left my heart whole again. What a treasure of a person she is.
Many people will think this is a “sad book” and choose not to read it, and of course, that’s ok. I personally didn’t find it sad overall. It is positive, uplifting, and even inspiring. As someone who has walked through grief (still walking through it because I’m not sure the walk is ever truly done), Amanda’s story will make you feel seen and heard, while also offering comfort and hope.
I received gifted copies of the book and audiobook. I recommend both. Amanda narrates the audio, and the book is full of pictures of their beautiful family.
I met Nick multiple times and loved seeing him on Broadway. He was the stand out performer in every show he was in. I followed his COVID story through Amanda’s Instagram like the rest of the world and was excited to read this book, hoping it would really shine a light on his life. It did the complete opposite. This book made it clear that Amanda was manipulative and calculating with what she was sharing on social media. She got so many extra privileges at the hospital that she never made public, knowing that if she did, there would be extreme backlash, and rightly so. I know that the majority of people who had loved ones with COVID were unable to see them before they passed. Amanda was able to go in and see Nick most the 3 months he was in the ICU. She also made over a million dollars with a GoFundMe page that made it seem like she was going to be in financial ruin after this and she needed money to support their 1 year old son. That was not the case at all, that money went to renovating her now SECOND LA home. She also was so unrealistic about Nick’s progress and health and to me, it seemed like she was just keeping him alive so she could gain more attention, fame and money. When this book was published, Nick wasn’t even gone a year, and she was already talking about finding love. That is so tacky, and makes you wonder if she actually really loved him. Reading this book at points made me feel physically sick, and I hate to see that Nick’s legacy will be tainted by this manipulative, lying woman. Please do not buy this book and support Amanda’s now cushy lifestyle. She is only out to exploit his tragic death for fame and fortune.
While anyone can sympathize with her story its the story behind the story that does not sit right with me. I watched their story unfold on social media as did the rest of the world. It was during these beginning times of covid that perfectly healthy people such as Nick began to die. His story is certainly tragic as is the tragedy of over 350,000 Americans plus those millions around the world who lost family to covid. "They must not be forgotten." I myself lost friends, no pre existing conditions , healthy people lost to covid . It is a terrible tragedy for anyone lost to covid.
While their story grew they were everywhere on all media and news while the others fighting covid and dying were forgotten . It seemed a media blitz was put into action and then the donations started rolling in until soon it was blared across media that Amanda had amassed over a million dollars ! The call for donations continued as did the media that seemed it was orchestrated . It did not seem right but somehow she kept managing her media blitz until it grew and grew. People loved their story and her fight to keep Nick alive . People loved to donate to them. People kept posting and following her to extremes her followers numbers even posted on the news. They were on the news every day and front and center on every social media outlet daily. I was continually asking, what is going on with this media campaign . It does not feel right to me as the daughter of a widow. I know the realities of losing a spouse . Its a private time of great grief. I understand the grief of losing a spouse certainly and the way he suffered was a terrible shame. We all feel for them and of course for any child like myself growing up without one parent is a terrible loss for the child. The loss of a parent can never be replaced in a child's life and I applaud her for being a hands on parent to her child. While the book seems told honestly that is what sells books is human interest. There is this second side of her story that does not fit the narrative of the book. Albeit a sweetly told story of a families terrible tragedy during covid.
The toxic positivity in this book is sometimes exhausting and even more so because the author doesn’t do a good job of vocalizing what is truly at play here: privilege. We were led to believe through social media that Amanda was kept away from Nick for the majority of his hospitalization, which we later find in the book was not actually true. While thousands of families were kept away from their loved ones, she was given special permission to visit and then was angry when it was taken away. Understandable, but lacking the humility to acknowledge in more than just a passing way that her own wealth and status, along with her famous friends, made this a much different experience than the hundreds of thousands of others who have dealt with this disease. I commend Amanda for getting through a horrible time, but the pain of so many others who were lost is still too fresh to read an account like this which is a sneak peek into how “the other half live” through a deadly pandemic.
This is such a heartbreaking story, and I am so glad Amanda decided to share her story. However, I have a lot of problems with a number of things that she wrote about in the book. She was repeatedly granted special treatment throughout Nick’s illness, and in the book I really think she neglected to truly acknowledge this—so much so, that i think most of the world that lost loved-ones to COVID may actually be offended to read the book. She also had a massive social media following that she essentially lied to throughout the entire process. I also found her glossing over the murder of George Floyd and to only comment on how the (in her terms) “riots” affected her day to day to be quite tasteless and another indication of her privilege.
An equitable smattering of cringe, tackiness, and self-absorbed privilege. Finished the book out of respect for the subject of the book, Nick Cordero, but, otherwise would have tossed it into a dumpster fire.
The author lacks any type of self-awareness, basically emasculates Nick every and any chance she got/gets prior to his awful and unfair demise, and is just an out-right entitled, spoiled, attention seeker.
She perpetually used her status and privilege to trump every other family who was suffering from loss(es) during Covid. As someone who also lost a close family member as a result of covid, but was only allowed to say goodbye to him via iPad regardless of any type of pleas, yes, I would have absolutely done the same thing she did (going to visit every day if exceptions were made for me), but, would have never had the audacity to publicize nor monetize off of it, eliciting sympathies from others similarly situated; especially noting that “baking” was one of the key things to getting into seeing a dying loved one during unprecedented times and not your blatant privilege.
The book started out OK - but then she started describing all the special privileges she got and her financial ability to hire a private doctor, her permission to sing and dance in the ICU, and for months she used sets of PPE intended for health care workers. None of these were an option when my dad died of covid, so this book is offensive to the many people who were not even allowed in ICU to say goodbye. Let's hear from those people. Those are the people who should be writing books.
Im going to start with if somebody misleads and outright lies about the privileges and special treatments she was receiving along this journey, while SO MANY others were denied basic rights you’ve got to wonder how much of the actual book is also lies. She sure did pull a number on the American public following her story with love and sympathy. She doesn’t even have the decency to understand what she did there. Garnering support and MILLIONS of dollars in donations whilst the rest of the country struggled with the basics of living and God forbid losing their own loved ones who suffered and died alone. That doesn’t set her up to be a credible, believable, or relatable author. A poorly written account of a heartbreaking story. Honestly they don’t sound well matched. This is advertised as a story of living and loving but in actuality she takes every opportunity to point out his shortcomings and character flaws, and paint herself as a social climbing privileged bimbo. And i think it is reprehensible for her to paint him as a selfish lazy rock star wannabe who forced her to move away from everything. And then unspeakable to keep him on life support for so long after being told over and over he would never recover. She seems unhinged. Dancing and singing parties in the hospital room where she continued to prolong his suffering after being told he was being tortured by the methods keeping him alive. It seemed a narcicistic account from two sisters who are completely out of touch and unrealistic. The amount of name dropping and privilege and social climbing is nauseating. These two seem obsessed with the attention and fame. They have been celebrating this heartbreaking book as such an accomplishment without ever mentioning it’s a book they hoped to never have to write. And it’s not even well written. I just don’t know who would find this relatable. Or who would have any sympathy for the privilege they had with their entire extended family having multiple hospital visits when SO MANY PEOPLE never got one.
Thank you LibroFM and HarperAudio for this ALC. This is my very honest review.
I hope that Nick's memory is a blessing and wish his family all of the best.
While I understand that having a loved one dying from COVID is heartbreaking and sharing that story is opening yourself up to experience that heartache again, these are my thoughts on this memoir. This is the first memoir that I have ever read that has made me lose all respect for someone.
That being said, I cannot recommend this memoir to anyone who has lost anyone to COVID as this memoir comes off as tone deaf and privileged. I personally think that the story of Nick Cordero and Nick himself deserves better than the words in the memoir.
I feel misled. I first learned of Amanda and Nick in 2020, when the Today Show shared their story and the GoFundMe that Amanda had started. I didn't follow their story too closely, and was honestly confused on when she was added to the cast of Dancing with the Stars 2021. I had gained a lot of respect for her after watching her on DWTS and after listening to her share her story on DWTS. However, now I don't think I have any respect for her.
One of my biggest issues with this is the lies. She used her "army" as she called them to call in favors for her and her family. She wasn't honest with her followers and misleading people that look up to around the world? Disgraceful. Amanda had a GoFundMe going all the while she had celebrity friends sending her meal trains, supplying houses for her and her family to use, and PAYING for additional, private doctors even though Nick was already at one of the best hospitals in the country. Celebrities and LA influencers also used their followers to raise more money for her. While the GoFundMe was supposed to be used to renovate her house for Nick were to be released from the hospital, she didn't stop using that money after he died. That to me, just feels wrong.
Not to mention she called a house supplied to her and her family by a celebrity's wife as their "own personal resort" while others around the world were struggling to stay in their homes while losing loved ones really hit me as wrong.
It also seemed that while she tried to explain she knew she was privileged with what she got to do during Nick's time in the hospital, it still screamed entitlement to me. She got to visit him a lot, got to get into bed with him, played music in the ICU, and threw tantrums at not being able to seem him every day. All the while there were people all over the US just hoping to get time on FaceTime with a loved one to say goodbye.
I also don't think she really acknowledged just how much stress the healthcare workers were under during this time and that the doctors working with Nick had other patients. Healthcare workers deserve better.
She briefly mentioned the protests that broke out after George Floyd's death, but didn't fail to make it seem like they were a huge inconvenience to her and that she and her family still expected people to supply meals for them when LA was under a curfew.
She somehow used connections to get family across the Canadian border and my heartaches after hearing the story of Nick's mom and what she has gone through. HOWEVER, I'm sure there are many Americans, and Canadians, that would've loved to be able to cross the border (when it was basically closed) to say goodbye to loved ones.
One thing she said that she told Nick while he was sick was, " I don't know what I'll do without you", well as of January 4, 2022, here is what she has done: - Published a book within a year of his death (finished it within 6 months of his death) - Became a talk show host on The Talk - Joined DWTS for the most recent season
Yes she's making a life for her and Nick's son, but some of her actions just don't sit right with me when millions of other Americans are still picking up the pieces and struggling to get by after losing loved ones to COVID.
I admit that I had no clue who Amanda Kloots or Nick Cordero were, other than the fact that I kept seeing Amanda's name on my social media asking for prayers for her husband who contracted Covid.
So, I knew, going into this book what the outcome would be and I literally read the book, with a huge lump in my throat, over the course of two days.
This book, simply put is a love letter from Amanda to Nick. It is a book that made me cry (and I rarely cry when reading) while, at the same time, it is a book that I found inspiring. The love these two share is the central "plot" of the book and Amanda writes the words with so much love and respect for her husband and what he was going through.
It is inspiring to see how everyone bounded together to help her in such a difficult time. How I wish everyone had access to this level of help for every Covid patient.
Amanda is due a lot of respect, from the way she dealt with all the medical issues to how she managed to stay present in her day to day life for her son - I don't know if I could have done it.
I am so sorry for what this family is going through. I am sorry for all the families....
I thought this was a sad, honest, and in many ways beautiful story and was really well written. I will say that Amanda’s privilege shines a bit too bright throughout the story and her lack of acknowledgement about it is a little tone-deaf. Overall a good read.
I have read the book and I am actually surprised at how negative Amanda was when it came to Nick’s hopes and dreams. It was interesting that while she was putting on her daily “show” on instagram making followers believe that she couldn’t see Nick, she actually was able to have visits. One of the most offensive things that she wrote was comparing Nick’s illness and death to a Broadway show. The hospital was a theater, Nick’s room was her dressing room and the nurses and doctors were “HER” cast. It was bizarre and narcissistic, but I’m sure that her fans won’t see how gross the comparison is.
I followed Amanda on instagram when I learned about Nick. I found the GoFundMe to be tacky and now I am truly repulsed at how she manipulated kind people who made donations to her. Amanda is not a struggling young widow trying to survive, she now has two homes with the second valued at $2 million. She is also giving interviews stating that she wants to find love again. Nick isn't even gone a year. I regret buying the book as I don't want to fund her lifestyle.
Really tough to write a review for this book. I am a nurse and lost my grandmother to COVID. While it is a powerful, moving story, Amanda was afforded many opportunities that others were not during this pandemic. She also is broadcasting to the whole world that she is not a struggling widow....which many in her situation would be. I feel like some of this stuff could have been left out. Also, as a nurse, I recognize that once he was placed on that ventilator, he had a death sentence. Amanda refused to "give up," but she prolonged the inevitable. Yes, I know, I am more in the Dr.Welch category, but Nick still died.
What upset me the most about the book was the realization how within a world renowned hospital like Cedar Sinai, you can pay for preferential treatment.
Im glad Amanda’s friends funded this but it begs the question of how challenging it must have been for most families who were unable to pay or unaware of the service. A sad indictment of our health care system.
*Update: After reading many reviews from those who listened to the audiobook, I get the sense that in the case of this book, audiobook might be superior and would get past some of the negatives I felt in reading the ebook. So, perhaps audiobook is the way to go!* This is a super tough book to criticize, due to how recently the events transpired, the phenomenal human being the author is/everything she has endured and the fact that we are still dealing with COVID. Warning: this is the first book I know of that directly deals with the early days of the pandemic as it related to patients’ struggles, families separated from their sick loved ones and the trauma COVID and its treatments were taking on the body. So, it could definitely cause some serious ptsd depending on your situation. I’ll start and end on positives. To start, I read the book in less than 24 hours, unable to put it down despite having followed Amanda’s Instagram in real time during the events and already knowing the main story and ending. The book is written like a long diary entry or story being told to a friend which made it feel intimate and helped make it so “unputdownable”, and even with knowing the main plot points from when they unfolded, I - as many other reviewers on here have noted - read the entire thing with a lump in my throat while constantly either barely fighting back tears or completely all-out bawling. There are many details in here that couldn’t have been known solely by following Amanda’s Instagram during the events. Without getting into details, which would contain spoilers, let’s just say if you think you followed everything so you know everything, you absolutely don’t. It is absolutely amazing and unimaginable how Amanda was able to keep her positivity around Nick and Elvis throughout the entire ordeal. Most of these additional details provide even more tragedy to an already tragic story. It felt like many emotions stirred up are due to how raw everything about COVID still feels - whether those emotions were positive or negative. A bit of negative, because this is a review… Some readers might feel angry reading some details, especially with the special treatment and perks allowed to Amanda vs regular, non-celebrity families and I think those would be valid emotions. COVID is a sensitive topic and a lot of people lost loved ones who - due to lack of celebrity - did not have access to many luxuries provided to the author. There is some acknowledgment from the author of this, but it falls slightly flat and feels thrown in just to have it there vs being a genuine understanding of the disparity between her situation and others. Also, as a reader, one of my main peeves - numerous little references, phrases, stories repeated multiple times - happened in this book and there were quite a few editing issues (an “a” or “the” left out here, a “the” or other word left in by mistake). I’m guessing this was simply due to rushed writing/publication, which is unfortunate because the writing on the whole was captivating and beautiful. So, back to positives to end this. For as much negative as the book might stir up for readers of their own experiences during COVID, the book beautifully explores and reminds us of the connections made that never would have been made otherwise (quarantine connections), the bonds between family - both blood-related and otherwise - and the importance of community. It truly is a beautiful book filled with positivity and light, just like the author. And of course, throughout it all, she reminds us of the importance to truly live our lives, not take our bodies and their abilities to move for granted. Etc. On the whole this was a powerful, raw, heartfelt and brave memoir and I am so glad to have read it.
I followed this story "live and as it happened" while we were all sitting at home in our various countries, trying to keep out of the way of the pandemic. As someone who has worked in critical care for a number of years I knew early on that Nick's chances of recovery were near to none, especially as little tidbits of information like ECMO, dialysis and the pacemaker came out. Amanda's naive optimism is beautiful, but child like. Her love for her husband pure, and her privilege obvious. The ludicrous health system in the US and the impact of celebrity and money really drives home the class divide. But at the end of the day it was lovely to see how she was able to have a community, but it's a scenario denied many in this pandemic.
Amanda Kloots's story about losing her husband, Nick Cordero, to COVID-19 is heartbreaking. Nick and Amanda had just become parents when he got sick, and no one expected how bad things would get for him.
I had never heard of Nick or Amanda before he got COVID-19, and I was fairly late to learn about their situation. I read an article about them when he passed away, but I hadn't followed their story or heard many of the details that led to his passing, so I was interested to know more. When I heard Amanda interviewed on a podcast, and I learned that this book was coming out, I put it on my to-read list.
I hoped to learn about the progression of Nick's illness, and how that whole situation played out. I was also interested in how Amanda dealt with it all. I even wanted to know more about the two of them as a couple… and this book has all of that, but unfortunately, I feel it could have been organized much better than it ultimately was.
For the most part, the story of Nick's illness is told chronologically, which is ideal. However, when Amanda tells stories about meeting Nick, falling in love with him, meeting his family, getting married, having their son, etc. these stories are told in a random, almost chaotic way that makes the timeline very difficult to follow. I understood that they dated, then broke up, then got back together before getting married, but the further I got into the book, the more I had to question when the heck some of these stories were taking place. ("Is this when they got together the first time, or the second time?" "Wait, are they married in this story, or just dating?") Much of the story-telling felt like a mess.
I was also personally very put off by the fact that Amanda repeatedly emphasized the importance of her Christian faith while simultaneously ascribing deep meaning to random coincidences and secular spiritualism. For me, that was frustratingly difficult to swallow, and unfortunately, these ideas were heavily peppered into almost every chapter.
But the book did have some of what I was looking for. Probably the most emotionally impactful chapter is the last one. Amanda shares about her feelings of grief, especially on the days surrounding important events - Nick's birthday, their wedding anniversary, etc.
When Amanda stops trying so hard to put on an entertaining show and simply gets vulnerable, I am able to relate and be moved emotionally. I suppose I was simply hoping for more of that.
I really love Amanda Kloots, but I forgot that this isn’t a normal family’s covid story, it’s a celebrity’s experience w covid. While I continued to find her emotional story and personal journey through grief really powerful, the book became harder and harder to read because of her extremely privileged experience. Her friends bought her an extra medical support team within the hospital, and another expert doctor to consult, plus she got so much food and flowers that they didn’t have room in the house, being able to stay in celebrity homes at no cost, gofundme donations, siblings who lived w her the whole time to help, and most glaring- being able to visit the hospital when no other families were allowed at that time- and knowing this was unfair and lying about it on social media. It is truly a heartbreaking story, one I’m thankful she’s felt open to share w the world. But I don’t like that her grief and her love or strength seems to be placed at a higher bar than the many many others who suffered or lost family during quarantine or had to go to the hospital by themselves. It showcased how extremely inequitable our society truly is and the generous safety net we give to those who don’t need it.
I found out Amanda and Nick's story on Ins one day when I was browsing through the explore page. I followed Amanda's account right away, and every day I would check her page to see Nick's progress. I cried when I read that Nick was awake. As a healthcare worker and have seen so many people suffering from COVID and witnessed many families losing their loved ones due to COVID, I can totally feel what Amanda was going through and truly admired her positivity during this very difficult time. That's why when Amanda announced that she's about to write everything in a book, I got very excited. I borrowed the audiobook immediately when it came out. The book started ok, but about 40% into the book, I started to have mixed feelings. I started to realize this book is not just the journey of how she lost her husband, but also a summary of white privilege, celebrity privilege, and health inequality. At my hospital, no one was allowed to visit, especially the ICU COVID patients, unless it is the end of life and family will be granted assess to visit to say goodbye. I can't believe Amanda was dancing and singing in the room. She said she brought positivity to the ICU floor, I just couldn't imagine how other patients felt. She had a private medical team communicating with her daily. She had a GoFundMe page (which I found to be very odd) to help her 'renovate her new house'. She was granted special treatment to go visit Nick frequently. Even the head of doctors was calling her to ask how they can help. Free food, free deliveries, free houses, free birthday parties, and etc. I'm just speechless. Later on, I read that now she bought a second house, I also read some stories online saying that Amanda started dating again and some people were judging her that she moved on too fast. I think it's really not our business to judge the right or wrong way to grieve.
Halfway through the book, I was like 'enough Amanda', I had to force myself to finish the book. It's a heartbreaking story and very well written, and I have to say that she and her sister have done a beautiful job painting the story. But I want to hear the store from different people, from ordinary people, people who had no privileges.
Overall, I found this book to be very engaging and a very tragic tale.
Some things I liked about the book: -It was a very engrossing read (finished it very quickly). -The bond between Amanda and her family was very touching, particularly between she and her sister. (Obviously.. they wrote the book together). -The dilemma and choices she made about Nick's care and being torn between being a wife and a new mother helped create a very empathetic picture of her life at that time. Nick's struggle and journey were really, really sad and difficult to read as he definitely suffered a lot before he passed. -The ups and downs of her somewhat tumultuous relationship with Nick himself. I feel like she gave just enough of a glimpse into their dynamic and fun times without it getting overly dull or drawn out. -Admittedly, it was sort of fun to read about the celebrities and pop culture references. Also, it was... wow... enlightening the life of an influencer/someone who makes their living off social media.
Some things I did not particularly like: -Author comes off as... a bit of a princess at times. And yes, the privilege is very real. I think the need and desire to have every moment celebrated all the time reads a bit childish when other people have other priorities in their lives. Also, as part of the princess thing, there's a fair amount of self congratulations in the book. -I really cannot understand the religion thing and it's so threaded throughout the book. So many moments and memories in the book have religion foisted upon them and the author is trying so deeply to imbue meaning into every song. -The book definitely can be repetitive at times. It probably could've lost a few pages and been a little tighter.
Last note: if you are able, get the vaccine!!! Save lives.
It feels impossible to rate this story the way I’d rate a ‘normal’ book - so I’m just going with my gut/heart feeling. I’ve been watching Amanda’s story since Nick’s early days in the hospital, and even while I knew how this story would end, I found myself rooting for her and her family the whole time and wishing, wishing for another end for them.
I didn’t think I’d be able to read this one at first - so much about the fear, uncertainty and trauma of the last year felt too real and too fresh, but this was both okay to manage, and also - surprisingly healing? to grieve and feel for all of the loss in our world this past year+ alongside Amanda throughout her story.
I’ve seen some reviews taking umbrage with her privilege, and I get it, but also... idk. Amanda is aware of it and acknowledges her privilege in the immense resources she was given while Nick was sick. And honestly? If it were me watching my beloved wither away from Covid, I’d take all the help I could get to save his life, too.
Heartbreaking, hopeful, and healing. I don’t know if this one would’ve resonated with me as much had I not listened on audio and felt the impact of her story shared straight from her voice. Thanks to Libro.fm for a chance to listen to an advanced copy!
I did not follow Amanda Kloots on social media during her husbands battle with the after effects of Covid19. I was vaguely aware of Nick Cordero's Broadway career and followed his story through mainstream news outlets. I thought this book would give insight on who Nick was at home, his hopes, hobbies, and inspirations; the nuances that make a man a man. I was expecting to be taken through a love story turned tragedy and instead it read like a gift list of the privileged and out of touch. This could have been a series of private thank you notes and not a book for the public. Several times she painted Nick Cordero in a negative light and I have to assume it was unintentional, but that doesn't make it better. At one point she complains about not being showered with gifts as she expected (and maybe I'm living in a different reality but being expected to be showered with gifts already feels weird I don't care what her mom did for birthdays when she was a child) on her first mother's day only to later reveal that Nick had been emotionally struggling with unemployment at the same time. I'm happy for her, in some rights that she had so much support and so many gifts and services gifted to her during her difficult time, but it seemed in bad taste to write a book that was more about those gifts than Nick's struggle, though it was almost equal parts her being unable to accept the realities the doctor's were explaining to her about Nick's illness. The book read like a lot of bragging. I think she meant to show the world how much positivity she was able to have during this time in her life, but it reads toxic and out of touch. I can't imagine how people around her read through this and told her it was well done.
3.5 stars. A generous, courageous, and heartfelt recounting of the loss of Nick Cordero as told by his wife Amanda. This is a story of a celebrity battling covid-19, it is not an everyday story which is why at times it was a little tough to read since I felt like it was marketed as the story of an everyday young family that faced this battle since the family’s celebrity status was not well known prior to Nick’s battle. The number of resources poured out to this family from teams of private doctors to free homes to hospital higher ups being lobbied on their behalf serve as an exceptional example of generosity and support from others - an exception, not the rule. I could imagine it would be really painful for folks who lost loved ones to covid without this army of celebrity supporters/the reach of influence that their story is surrounded in.
Outside of that the book is a beautiful love letter to the ferocity of Amanda’s love for her family, Nick, her son Elvis, her siblings, etc and a beautiful picture of what happens when people band together to care for one another. I am amazed by her enduring positivity and strength exemplified by her ability to write and publish this emotional book with her sister Anna all before the one year anniversary of Nick’s passing. From following along on Instagram to reading this now, her bond with her sister Anna and brother Todd who quarantined with her throughout Nick’s hospital stay was my favorite part to read and such a moving testament to the power of familial love.
It was also interesting and valuable to read my first book that details the early COVID-19 pandemic months in such detail - details that I have already started to blur out.