Author: Steven Manchester
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
First Published: 2012
Page Count: 323
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 3/5 Stars
A book that slowly shows you how short life is and that every second should be treasured.
*Doesn’t have much spark until the end
“‘We’re only here for a short time,’ I told them. ‘So be happy, chase your dreams, and do more laughing than worrying.’” Don DiMarco is blessed to be living the “American dream.” He is married to the woman of his dreams, has a loving daughter, and two beautiful grandchildren. However, when he is diagnosed with cancer it seems like his perfect world is about to come crashing down. Instead of wasting what time he has left, Don spends his last year attempting to complete his bucket list and creating memories with the people he loves.
Usually I use this paragraph to talk about the positives of a book and the next one to rattle off the negatives, but for this review I think I’ll do things a little differently. For most of this book I couldn’t help comparing it to other stories like Tuesdays with Morrie that deal with someone coming to terms with their fast-approaching death. Frankly, I wasn’t impressed. Don’t get me wrong, anyone who has to go through a battle with something as difficult as cancer is tragic. However, I didn’t see why this story needed to be told. Each chapter was about some dream trip or experience Don had wanted to try before he died, like becoming a cowboy. It just didn’t have the spark that make books like Tuesdays special.
But the reason I chose to give this book enough stars to warrant a “PICK IT” label are because I found the last few chapters to be extremely moving. Right out from under me, I realized the author had really connected me to the main character and his family. Up until the end of the novel, Don maintains his positive outlook on life and the future. When the book gets the darkest during Don’s struggle with cancer, there is still a ray of sun shine poking through the darkness. It’s heartbreaking to watch Don’s battle but you know from previous chapters he has lived a fuller life then most people ever will. The end is tissue worthy, and I realized if I hadn’t connected to the book, I wouldn’t have felt such strong emotions in the end.
These kind of stories make you want to see the world and experience all you can right now. Who knows if you will become the next Don DiMarco? But would that really be so bad? Cancer is terrible for anyone, but it can change people for the better. The real message is not to wait until something as final as cancer encourages you to help others, follow your dreams, or see life in a new light.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.