Edie Windsor never could have expected to be at the forefront of a Supreme Court decision that would ultimately provide marriage equality at the federal level in the United States, and yet that’s exactly where she found herself in 2015. While that one day in June would catapult her into being an international icon within the LGBTQIA+ community, it was merely one defining moment in a life full of them. From her first moment of personal acceptance as a lesbian to her rise up the ranks of IBM, with all the love and loss that came along the way, she truly lived a wild and precious life.
While Edie Windsor became famous for The United States vs. Windsor, it’s almost quaint that it’s become the most discussed portion of her life—and that’s perhaps why her memoir pulls the focus away from the court. With fierce confidence tamped down by wicked fun, Edie lays out a life not totally unlike many lesbians who navigated the 1950s and 60s. After ending an early marriage to a man, she grabbed at every opportunity she could, eventually entering the world of IBM as a computer programmer and finding love that would last four decades. She attacks these sections, spelling out the facts, warts and all, in her trademark firecracker style.
Unfortunately, Edie died before completing this book. Fortunately, her co-author, Joshua Lyon, picked up the pieces and delivered an incredibly moving portrait. Lyon leaves Edie’s voice intact, letting her guide the action. But he also adds sections after every chapter which give greater depth and historical context for what was happening at the time. Through his own research as well as her own files, he provides a rich examination of both Edie and the world she occupied. Rather than seeing Edie only as she saw herself, Lyon taps into a host of contemporaries, including himself, who knew her. And while no one glosses over the difficult portions of her life, the result is a true celebration.
Inspiring and deeply entertaining, A Wild and Precious Life shows what all memoirs should be.
Title: A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir
Author: Edie Windsor and Joshua Lyon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: October 08, 2019
Classification: LGTQIA+, Memoir
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.