Friday, 9 January 2015

Before I Go

Author: Colleen Oakley
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold Pocket Books
First Published: January 6, 2015
First Line: "The kale is gone."

Book Description from GoodReads:  A heart-wrenching debut novel in the bestselling tradition of P.S. I Love You about a young woman with breast cancer who undertakes a mission to find a new wife for her husband before she passes away.

Twenty-seven-year-old Daisy already beat breast cancer three years ago. How can this be happening to her again?

On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant “Cancerversary” with her husband Jack to celebrate three years of being cancer-free, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it’s an aggressive stage four diagnosis. She may have as few as four months left to live. Death is a frightening prospect—but not because she’s afraid for herself. She’s terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but otherwise charmingly helpless husband when she’s no longer there to take care of him. It’s this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife.

With a singular determination, Daisy scouts local parks and coffee shops and online dating sites looking for Jack’s perfect match. But the further she gets on her quest, the more she questions the sanity of her plan. As the thought of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy’s forced to decide what’s more important in the short amount of time she has left: her husband’s happiness—or her own?

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold Pocket Books for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  When I read the synopsis of this book I was initially drawn to the premise of a wife with terminal cancer going on a journey to find someone for her husband to love when she's gone.  It sounded like such a selfless journey and I expected to be a big 'ol sniveling mess when I was done.

While it did have its emotional scenes towards the end, overall it was not nearly as gut-wrenching or as dark as I was expecting for a book that deals with a woman with terminal cancer.  It had an underlying sadness throughout but it was more of a look into the relationship between Daisy and Jack as they deal with such a devastating blow to their future plans and relationship.  It was their relationship, as it spiraled downwards, that was the saddest (and most frustrating) part of the book for me because of the vital time they seemed to waste as they struggled to deal with the effects of the cancer.

The addition of secondary characters helped to show the far reaching effects of cancer and rounded out the story.  There was Daisy's mother and her emotional outbursts and Kayleigh, Daisy's best friend, who brought a lightness, humour and honesty with how she interacted with Daisy and dealt with the diagnosis in her own way.

At first I wasn't sure how believable that portrayal of Daisy and Jack's relationship was. Daisy's focus on secretly finding Jack a future wife started off as a sweet idea but soon moved into an obsession which, as it went along, became more and more uncomfortable to read.  But, as someone who also likes to be in control of her life like Daisy, I can also see how, as she lost her independence and control over her life, she clung to this issue of ensuring that Jack was taken care of when she was no longer with him. This didn't make reading about their struggles easy though.  I kept wanting to shake her and say don't waste your time on this quest, spend it with Jack!

This was a good debut that focuses on the issue of finding your own happiness versus looking ahead to ensure the happiness of your loved one and gives readers an inside look at how cancer ravages not only a person's body but their emotional state and relationships.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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