In her debut novel, Before I Go, Colleen Oakley, masterfully introduces us into a world where wishes don’t necessarily come true, or do they? Daisy, who is goal oriented and list focused, receives devastating news. She is no longer in remission. It’s back, her breast cancer, and this time it’s attacked with a vengeance. This young and health conscious newlywed has decided to be brave and tackle this without relying on her family and friends. Facing limited treatment options of which none will cure and annihilate this awful disease she must deal with a devastating truth. For the first time in her life, Daisy finds herself completely lost. One minute she’s looking forward to celebrating her future with her husband with talk of starting a family. The next minute she’s listening to the Doctor rattle off the limited options to live comfortably, she must decide how she is going to tell her family.
While browsing through the published description of this book it states an obvious fact, Daisy is going to die. No, I’m not giving you dear reader any spoilers so don’t get mad at me. With this new discovery will she do what she’s always done? Will there be copious amounts of lists? Will she have the energy to fight? Jack, her kind and sometimes disorganized husband is just months away from graduating as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, will this change that? Knowing how oblivious and unable to see beyond the physical mess tugs at her soul. How can she be sure he’ll be ok?
The author, Colleen Oakley shows us that facing death can be ugly, unfair and frightening, no matter how old you are. What Daisy and Jack do with the amount of time they have left with each other is what makes this a must read book. While reading the book description to some acquaintances they immediately responded that they couldn’t read yet another “Cancer” story.
I normally would agree and not pick up yet another survive/victim story, I urge you to take this frustrating and humorous journey with Daisy and Jack, and take a ride on this emotional roller coaster with them. Be a passenger. It is worth it and will change how you look at those facing adversity, and make you think about how we all deal with situations where death is inevitable. I received this ARC for an honest review and I look forward to whatever else Colleen Oakley writes in the future no matter what the subject matter is. Thank you Colleen, for a heartwarming and poignant story that very few chose to tell.
Colleen Oakley’s articles, essays, and interviews have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Redbook and Martha Stewart Weddings. She’s the former editor-in-chief of Women’s Health & Fitness and senior editor of Marie Claire. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, two painfully cute kids and a huge lapdog named Bailey. Before I Go is her debut novel.