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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Please Stay: A Brain Bleed, A Life In The Balance, A Love Story by Greg Payan is a non-fiction book on a couple’s journey through Holly’s life-threatening illness. Please Stay is written from the perspective of Greg, Holly’s partner and husband for over a decade. Greg and Holly have been in a long term relationship where each maintains their independence but they also have a loving and close relationship, when everything changes one day without warning. The book goes into details of Holly’s first sudden symptoms when she was diagnosed with brain aneurysm—more technically, grade IV subarachnoid hemorrhage as a result of ruptured aneurysm. From that day, their lives change and are a constant battle for life and health, with multiple admissions into hospitals and ICU, along with dealing with the neurological changes that often accompany such a condition. The book is interspersed with many photos as well as letters and messages from family and friends who support them through this process.
Please Stay is a well written book about the first hand experiences of someone suddenly dealing with a potentially fatal and life-changing illness of this kind. Greg walks us through their entire journey in a step-by-step manner, so that I felt I really knew what was happening at each stage of the process. The close relationship between the two comes through very strongly in the book and is a testament to the fact that they were able to get through this together, without falling apart or growing distant from each other, as sometimes happens in such cases unfortunately. I felt the writing was engaging, candid, and provides an in-depth look into the life of someone diagnosed with brain aneurysm. I also liked reading about the obvious strong bond and relationship that Greg and Holly share and felt that this made it not only a book on medical illness but also a love story. Overall, this is a book about hope and battling the odds while staying positive. It's an inspiring book for anyone going through or who has been through similar life circumstances.