Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Review: Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

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?

Hardcover, 320 pages

Expected publication: January 6th 2015 by Gallery Books

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Gallery Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is January 6th, 2015.

What is one to say about a story that deals with someone who knows that they are going to die?  There isn't a lot you can say unless you are in the shoes that Daisy was.  This was a very sobering read yet I couldn't pull myself away from it.  It was a raw and emotional read.

I am not going to regurgitate the plot in this review.  I will talk about the emotions I went through as I read this story.  The main question I kept asking myself was what would I do if I were in Daisy's shoes.  I found myself arguing with myself in my head.  Luckily my husband didn't catch any of these inner arguments.  I kept telling myself I would not react as Daisy did, that I would reach out to my loved ones and cherish every moment I had.  Then I thought about it further and realized that her reaction was probably very realistic.  Learning to ask or accept help can be something that is difficult to do and I know I would struggle with that.  The thought of losing independence is a scary one.

One thing I know I would not be doing is looking for another wife for my husband.  I am not that selfless and I would want to spend every moment with him.  I honestly think that imagining him with someone else would completely undo me.  You have to read the story to see how Daisy deals with it.

I want to thank Oakley for writing a story that made me be inside my own head as much as it was on this book.  Anytime a story makes me think I know it is one to remember

This is a serious book about a tragic disease.  If light and fluffy is your thing then look elsewhere.  If you can handle a well written emotional story that makes you think then I say pick this book up now.  You won't regret it.

On a side note...there was mention in the story that Golden Retrievers have a higher than average (60%) chance of getting Cancer.  I really hope Oakley was taking liberties with the facts on this as I had mine curled up with me the entire time I was reading this book :-(

About the Author

Colleen Oakley's articles, essays, and interviews have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Redbook and Martha Stewart Weddings. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, two painfully cute kids and a huge lapdog named Bailey. Before I Go is her debut novel.
Twitter:  OakleyColleen

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