Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Book Review: "Morningside Heights" by Joshua Henkin

Joshua Henkin's newest book, Morningside Heights, is an emotional, well-written look at love, marriage, and family.

Pru has big dreams when she moves to New York from Ohio in the mid-1970s. What an impact she’ll have on the world! But it’s not long after that she finds herself falling in love with Spence Robin, her Shakespeare professor, already a hotshot on the academic literary scene.

After a few years of dating, Spence wants to marry Pru and despite the life she thought she’d live, she wants to marry him, too. He throws her for a loop when he reveals he was married before and has a young son he rarely sees, but after realizing she’d be lost without him, she agrees to marry him.

They have a good life and raise a daughter, Sarah. But as Spence approaches his 50s, he just doesn’t seem the same anymore. He can’t seem to write, his teaching ability has declined, his personality has changed, and he’s forgetting things. He is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Morningside Heights follows Spence’s family as they deal with the diagnosis and the course of their lives change. Pru is devoted to caring for her husband but what does that mean for the rest of her life? Will there ever be another chance for her happiness? What hope can Arlo, Spence’s estranged son, who is now a wealthy tech entrepreneur, bring?

This is an emotional story but not an entirely sad book. It’s a love story, a story of relationships—marital and parental—and a story about hope. I’ve always been a fan of Henkin’s writing and his stories are always full of complex characters and emotions.

NetGalley and Pantheon provided me a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!!

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