Title/Author: Before I Go by Colleen Oakley
Genre: Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Cancer
Published: January 6th, 2015 by Gallery Books
E-Galley, 320 pages
How I Got This Book: Netgalley
Why I Picked It Up?: I saw it on Netgalley and was really intrigued by the premise. I wanted to read a cancer book from the new adult, married perspective.
Book Jacket Blurb: “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?”
Let me start by saying this: This book is NOT a light read. This book definitely tackles a lot of really heavy emotional subject matter.
That being said, Before I Go takes readers on an emotional journey through the 5 stages of grieving for the end. But that journey is so beautiful and difficult and painful and real.
The thing that really makes this story stand out is its authenticity of the situation and the characters. Daisy’s voice as she walks the readers through her story is so heartbreaking, but so real. I found myself really connecting with Daisy in ways that I haven’t really connected with any other character I have read before. In fact, this is the book that started my book journal.
I was planning on book journaling this year as a way to remember the thoughts and feelings that books I read evoke in me. My journal is not for reviews, but to record the things I am learning about myself or the world around me, the things I wonder, the things I question, the things I feel. I wasn’t planning on starting my book journal until 2015. But then I downloaded and read this galley before the end of 2014, and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to wait until 2015. I needed to write about THIS book!
Why? Because this book was TOO real to me. Well, it could have had the potential to be too real. Daisy is my age (maybe a couple years older). She is married to a man she desperately loves, and they are waiting until their lives get organized before they start having a family. And then Daisy gets a terminal diagnosis, and all of that goes out the window. Jack and Daisy….they could easily be me and hubs. And that is why this book got to me…because it is real, it is authentic, it is raw, it is emotional, it is true, it is HARD…
This is Colleen’s first book, but this does not read like a debut. This book is written by a talented writer who knows how to create a lyrical and true story that will evoke raw and true emotions from her readers. I think this book really got me because unlike so many other cancer stories, this one actually starts you at the beginning with the diagnosis and walks you through the grieving process. You see the 5 stages of grief come to life in difficult ways for each character involved, and it is both incredibly heart-wrenching and incredibly beautiful.
Like I said at the beginning, this book is not for readers looking for a light read. This book is heavy, and this book hurts. But this book is also real and it makes you feel things that you weren’t expecting to feel. This book not only takes readers on Daisy’s emotional journey but also own their own personal journey. And both of those journeys are beautiful.
My Bookshelf Rating:
A Fourth Shelf Book!
This book took me on an emotional journey that I just wasn’t expecting to take. I knew that this book would be heavy, but I didn’t expect to be completely affected by it the way I am. Daisy’s voice is authentic, and I cannot imagine being in her shoes, and yet that’s all I have been thinking about the last couple of days. Every character in this story reacts to Daisy’s news of cancer differently, but each character is authentic. Colleen Oakley has written a beautiful story that will resonate with many readers and make them reflect upon their own lives.
Love and Pixie Dust,