Reviewed by Cassie Widjaja for Readers' Favorite
The Swing: A Muse's Memoir about Keeping the Artist Alive by Susan Dennis is a carefully crafted and incredibly well-written memoir that spans the twenty-four-year marriage of a photographer and his muse. With Detroit's 1980s dangerous gang wars in the background, this memoir paints a rare image of a man, well-aware his time is running out, fighting to pursue a lifelong passion of capturing nature with his camera. From the perspective of his muse, the book depicts the love of a lifetime. After an unconventional first date, Susan finds herself inexplicably attracted to the ill artist and dives headfirst into an incredibly complicated romance. On the sidelines, Susan watches as Charlie's art evolves while his body continues to deteriorate. Coming to terms with his illness and obsession with his art, Susan learns what it means to love.
Susan Dennis truly outdid herself with this brilliant memoir. I admired Susan's resilience and dedication to her lover, even amid hospital visits and increasingly distressing diagnoses. While I never met Charlie personally, Susan describes him so well I felt I knew him as well as I do my best friend. By reading The Swing, I got a glimpse of the pain and frustration of seeing and being unable to help a loved one in agony. While the romance aspect is swoon-worthy, I felt that Charlie's passion for his art makes this book stand out. His story has me wondering whether I'm using my time for something worthwhile. Despite expecting to die young, Charlie fought relentlessly to pursue his dream of creating art and never gave up.