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MINI DOC: 'Black Widow,' a sad-funny love story by Leslie Gray Streeter

How a woman turned her pain into a beautiful love story
Leslie Gray Streeter - Jupiter
Posted at 1:33 AM, Mar 10, 2020

JUPITER, Fla. — We hand Leslie Gray Streeter a copy of her new book and ask her, "What is this?"

She gleefully chants, "This is my book, this is my book, this is MY BOOK!"

Watch Mini Documentary:

Mini Doc: 'Black Widow,' a Sad-Funny Love Story by Leslie Gray Streeter

It's a moment she's been waiting for her entire career.

Interviewing Leslie Gray Streeter at 1000 North in Jupiter:

Leslie Gray Streeter is known as the witty, hysterical, and authentically emotional columnist for The Palm Beach Post. Yes, over the years, the topics she writes about have changed. Still, her approach is always the same, intertwining pop culture references with her very own raw, real-life experiences with impassioned honesty.

Leslie's talents have been noticed by James Patterson, the world's bestselling author and storyteller.

"When you read 'Black Widow' you’ll be laughing and crying on the same page," said Patterson.

What James Patterson thinks about 'Black Widow':

READ MORE: The advice James Patterson gave Leslie Gray Streeter

Leslie's honesty is on display and printed in her new book, which is coming out March 10. It's entitled 'A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like "Journey" in the Title: 'Black Widow.' And as sad and comical as the real-life title sounds, it is truly a love story.

A love story, inspired by the unexpected death of her husband.

Leslie's twin sister, Lynne Streeter Childress, admits, "Scott would have wanted her to tell their story."

Leslie and Scott Zervitz went to high school together in Maryland. Even though Scott would later say he was fascinated with Leslie at the time, he didn't dare to ask her out back then; he didn't have the confidence.

Through happenstance, Leslie moved to the Palm Beaches to work at The Palm Beach Post, and Scott, too, had landed in Palm Beach County. He confidently asked her out and they eventually married at the Colony Hotel on Palm Beach.

The couple was having trouble getting pregnant, so they got word that a family member needed help raising a newborn named Brooks. The two became Brooks' foster parents.

"I think all of us just did what needed to be done," said Leslie's mom, Tina Streeter.

Then their dreams were shattered when the unimaginable happened.

Scott died of a heart attack during an intimate moment, leaving the adoption process unfinished and making Leslie Gray Streeter a 'Black Widow.'

Leslie Gray Streeter on getting healthy for her son:

"That day I just remember thinking, how do you even begin to explain this to a 2-year-old?" said friend Shelli Lockhart.

"To have her meet someone who worships the ground she walks on and starts to create a family with Brooks. And for things to take the turn that the did was heartbreaking," said friend Jason Plotkin.

"It was so important to her from the moment that Scott left that they have this child, the child they dreamed of, that they brought into their home together, that he become theirs permanently," said Lockhart.

Leslie using her writing, friends, and family as a means to navigate through her grief and persevere over tragedy and ultimately to fulfill a lifelong dream of publishing a book.

"It's hard walking through the pain with her, but also seeing the pain on the page like that," said Leslie's twin, Lynne.

As friends and family arrived at her house to console her right after Scott died, she got an idea. As she talked with one friend, "I lean over to him, and I say, I think this is my book. It just came out [of my mouth]. He said, sadly, I think it is too," said Leslie.

"Her mom said to her, pretty early on after Scott died, you know, here's your book," said Lockhart.

Leslie's colleague, WPTV anchor Shannon Cake, added perspective, saying, "Because the craft that we do as journalists, it's very cathartic for us at the same time to live it out on paper, get our words down, get our emotions down. And so I'm hopeful that [writing 'Black Widow' was this] for her. That in some small way that in writing this it moved her to a different space as well."

"That's what this book is to me. I want them to feel like they know Scott," said Leslie.

A book with a celebrity fan like Patterson.

"It's a very sad story because it involves the death of her husband, but she brings comedy to it, she just brings humor, and you'll have sadness and tragedy in the same paragraph," said Patterson.

Leslie's agent likes working with Journalists for good reason:

Leslie on if her son, Brooks, remembers his dad:

Wrapping up our interview with Leslie Gray Streeter: