Reviews

REVIEWS

“This book squeezes a soul-encompassing marriage into the events of just one decade, and Scarboro manages to tell—with strength and grace—her all-too-short love story in less than 300 pages.”

Library Journal, starred review

“Although this book contains a number of wrenching scenes, it is oddly uplifting. This is not just a story about the challenges of loving someone with a terminal illness; it's about recognizing those precious moments in life that Virginia Woolf once called "moments of being." It's about savoring the present, not allowing sadness to dominate and surrendering yourself to love, for better or worse.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Read the first page of Elizabeth Scarboro's memoir My Foreign Cities, and you're ready for the inevitable tears… More unexpected is this writer's intelligent and gripping honesty…In writing this book [Scarboro] provides certain comfort to others who know what she knows about ‘returning to the strange country I lived in now,’ the one called life."

Oprah Magazine

“Scarboro’s memoir takes readers on an emotional journey…With grace and humor, Scarboro shares the couple’s most intimate moments…Throughout, the pair are surrounded by devoted friends and family who buoy the couple through the most difficult times. It’s this ‘village’ that surrounds Stephen when he dies, a scene that Scarboro handles with exquisite beauty and infinite sadness.”

Booklist

"In My Foreign Cities, Scarboro invites us to accompany her on every mile of her joyous, often terrifying, sad and exalted journey of love. A natural storyteller, she brings vividly to life her struggles both to protect Stephen, who has a “lightness about him,” and to keep him at her side as long as she can so that they can embrace life to its fullest. She leads us down the path where his medical condition consumes every waking minute of their lives—including a lung transplant, its results and Stephen’s eventual decline—and shares her agony, her joy, her anger and her indecision with us.”

BookPage

“In Scarboro’s clear-eyed, plain-spoken prose, readers will feel her sense of panic and share in her bewilderment as she paces hospital waiting rooms, doles out pills from a locked tackle box and makes end-of-life decisions before Stephen’s lung transplant. Yet for all its raw immediacy, this memoir is also tempered with the hard-won perspective that comes with time….My Foreign Cities is not a self-help book in the classic sense but it will help you in the way that any good book does—by seizing your imagination, searing its story in your memory and laying bare a journey of inspiration, quiet heroism and heart.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Graceful… My Foreign Cities treads lightly, but attentively, through the landscape of disease, but more important it explores the ability to love someone passionately with no regrets.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

“At age 17 [Scarboro] fell in love with Stephen Evans, a fun-loving irreverent teen who had cystic fibrosis. They married in their 20s and would start a journey not to foreign cities but through the foreign world of medical science as Stephen battled a disease that would take his life…Her writing is crisp and her story honest as she blends humor with the gut-wrenching realities of life-threatening illness”

Boulder Daily Camera

Reading My Foreign Cities, I had the distinct feeling that Scarboro was sharing something precious with me, and that I shouldn’t take it for granted 

Vela Magazine

“This is a book that demands your whole heart: My Foreign Cities is an extraordinary memoir of a young couple's journey together in the face of devastating loss. With humor, grace, and excruciating tenderness, Scarboro dives deep into beauty and pain, joy and grief, and reminds us what a fragile, miraculous, and ferocious thing life is. An unforgettable story told with the force and conviction of love itself.”

Catherine Chung, author of Forgotten Country

“Elizabeth Scarboro shows us what those fortunate enough to find the deepest love will do for each other. Her memoir is a moving story that will shine its warm light for anyone navigating the rough country of illness with a partner. With some personal observation of the lay of this land, I will shout out—quality medical insurance for all, in our time!”

Julie Metz, New York Times bestselling author of Perfection

“At its heart, this beautiful memoir is a love story. And what a love story it is: convincing, clear-eyed, honest, prismatic and saturated with warmth and hard-won wisdom.”

Robin Romm, author of The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three Weeks

“What strikes you about Elizabeth Scarboro's My Foreign Cities is how well the author sees. Much of the time grappling with the illness of the man she loves is spent in observing him and everything around them both, as if seeing were a way of preserving. Of course, it is. And so, this book, so cleanly written, becomes a quiet lesson in how death may be confronted by an alert and embracing concentration on life.”

Roger Rosenblatt, author of Kayak Morning and Making Toast

“In this paradoxically triumphant love story, written with verve, style, and unexpected modesty, Elizabeth Scarboro reveals youth maturing before the reader's eyes. She does this by packing into one decade more experience, drama, change, and devotion than some lovers ever achieve and shows us that it's the quality, not quantity, that counts.”

Alix Kates Shulman, author of To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed and Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen

I disappeared into this story for an entire day . . . and came out a little shaken and tender-feeling, ultimately grateful for having walked through this with Liz as a savvy guide. The overwhelming take-home was an enhanced appreciation for my own love story, and the apparent luxury of our time together.

 Chandra Hoffman, author of Chosen

Elizabeth Scarboro’s My Foreign Cities is much more than an engaging read. It offers something special to doctors, nurses, and anyone who has or is caring for someone with a serious illness: an inspiring but never sentimental, behind-the-scenes look at how two young people and their families not only coped but managed to live full and meaningful lives despite the intrusions of an eventually fatal disease and our at once wonderful and challenging health care system.

 Louise Aronson, M.D., author of A History of the Present Illness