Thursday, September 11, 2014

Five Days Left

Five Days Left
by Julie Lawson Timmer

Genre: Fiction
Published: 9/9/14 by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Pages:  352
Format: ARC

My rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's program.

Mara has only five days left until she hits the deadline she has set to take her own life.  Suffering from a sudden onset of Huntington's Disease, Mara believes that she, her husband and daughter will all be better off when she is dead.  Her internet friend Scott is also up against a five day deadline.  Scott only has five days left before the foster boy he has grown to love and cherish will be taken away and sent back to his mother.  This novel alternates the stories of Mara and Scott as they move through these five days.

Mara's story was probably most compelling for me to read.  I can't hardly imagine what it would be like to go from being a successful business woman to someone who could barely manage to complete the simplest of tasks.  It makes for fascinating reading.  Reading about Mara's struggle with this disease and the affects it had on her family reminded me a lot of Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  I had a lot more sympathy for Alice in that book though than I did for Mara in this book.  I didn't really like Mara's character, and I didn't agree with a lot of her points of view.  So while I found her story interesting, I just didn't care much for her as a character. 

Scott's story was also interesting for me to read.  As a parent, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to take in a child for a year, treat that child as your own, and then have to give the child away. 

So both stories are fairly captivating, for me at least, and they easily held my attention through the book.  I just didn't really understand the need to tell BOTH stories in this novel.  I think the novel could have stood by itself with just one of the stories.  Was it necessary to tell them both side by side?  The whole concept just felt a little forced to me, like the author came up the idea of telling dual stories about having five days left and then had to come up with the stories that would fit this theme.  I'm just not sure the concept was really needed in this case.  A novel simply about a woman with Huntington's disease or the struggles of being a foster parent might have been enough.

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