Before I Go by Colleen Oakley ~ A Review

BEFORE I GO by Colleen Oakley (Gallery Books; January 6, 2015; Hardcover; $24.99)

 Synopsis

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?

Casey’s Thoughts <3<3<3<3

Before I Go is a heart wrenching story of love and what is to be lost.

Daisy’s cancer has returned and it’s not looking good at all.  There isn’t talk of how to make her better, but how to prolong the inventible.  Her and her husband are so close to reaching their goals- graduation.  They’ve worked so hard, but now the cancer is back.

Jack is an amazing husband who works crazy hours and is Daisy’s perfect match.  Daisy soon realizes that it’s not the leaving that’s the hardest, but what will happen to Jack when she’s gone.

Daisy comes up with a great plan to find him a husband and in doing so several comical things occur as well as things that drive her crazy.  All of which lead up to a head near the end of her life.

This story was a great read, but for me, I figured things out to quickly.  It is real and heartwarming yet heartbreaking all at the same time.  I don’t know if it was being at Christmas and not wanting to connect to such a sad book. (You know the outcome before it really gets going.)  I have lost one of the most important people in my lives to cancer.  A person that to this day continues to impact my life.  When I say this story is real, I mean it.  I could see a wife doing what Daisy did for her husband, and Jack’s reaction after she’s gone it raw and full for emotion.

 Review’s of Before I Go

“Oakley expertly tugs at the heartstrings with well-rounded characters and a liberal dose of gallows humor.” –Publishers Weekly

“Oakley has produced an affecting work that, while avoiding maudlin sentimentality, makes the reader care about Daisy and her determination to live while dying.” –Booklist

“Highly recommended for laugh-out-loud fans and the tearjerker set.” –Library Journal

“This emotional novel will make readers laugh through their tears.” –Kirkus

“An emotional picture of what it means to live and die that will tug at the heartstrings through the final pages.” –RT Book Reviews

 

A heart-wrenching novel written in the bestselling tradition of P.S. I Love You, BEFORE I GO follows twenty-seven year old Daisy Richmond, who is diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and decides to find her husband Jack a new wife before she dies.

 

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, coffee shops, and online dating sties looking for a perfect match for Jack. But the further she gets on her quest, the more she questions the sanity of her plan. As the idea of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy wonders if Jack could really love another woman the way he loves her—and more importantly—does she really want him to?

 

In a strong and compelling voice, Colleen Oakley tackles the difficult issues of terminal cancer, infidelity, and marriage with an appropriate amount of levity and warmth.  Instantly readable, Oakley writes Daisy’s emotional journey by pinpointing the unexpected ways in which she copes with tragedy—through humor, denial, self-reflection, and a fair amount of tears—in a style that feels very true to life.

 

About the author: An Atlanta-based writer, Colleen Oakley’s articles, essays, and interviews have been featured in the New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Redbook, Parade, and Martha Stewart Weddings.  Before she was a freelance writer, she was editor-in-chief of Women’s Health & Fitness. BEFORE I GO is her debut novel.

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