Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: Five Days Left

As always, I've been reading a lot of books but haven't had one in a while that really sat with me. Then Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer entered the scene and I was blown away. I didn't expect this book to be that good but it really was. It's an alternating perspective novel (which you should know I love) but the characters don't really interact with each other.

 The dominant story line is narrated by Mara, a middle-aged mom who suffers from Huntington's disease. The other main character is Scott, a man who has been a temporary guardian for a boy he's grown to love for the past few years. Although there are many flashbacks and narrations of the past, the novel takes place in the last five days for both Mara and Scott. For Mara, these are the last five days she wants to be alive. Huntington's disease will slowly kill her, but she has decided it's best if she ends her life while she can still maintain some dignity. Scott is experiencing the last five days he has custody of Curtis, a little boy who he had temporary guardianship of and formed an unexpected bond with. Both characters occasionally interact on a chat forum but have separate story lines besides that.

Mara's story was extremely heartbreaking. Not to say that Scott's wasn't, because it was very touching, but reading about Mara's slow decline was very moving. I had a vague idea about Huntington's disease, but to read of how a prestigious lawyer with a small child and handsome husband slowly loses control of her bodily functions, even wetting herself in a grocery store, was heartbreaking. What's so great about this novel, and the dual perspectives, is that Scott finds love by holding on to Curtis, and Mara shows her ultimate love to her family by ending her life instead of them watching her decline.

It's a sad novel, but ends with the idea of hope. I really recommend it and give it 5/5. Have you read any books lately that you've been loving?

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