Life and Other Near-Death Experiences - Camille Pagan
Libby Miller has always been an unwavering optimist—but when her husband drops a bomb on their marriage the same day a doctor delivers devastating news, she realizes her rose-colored glasses have actually been blinding her.
With nothing left to lose, she abandons her life in Chicago for the clear waters and bright beaches of the Caribbean for what might be her last hurrah. Despite her new sunny locale, her plans go awry when she finds that she can’t quite outrun the past or bring herself to face an unknowable future. Every day of tropical bliss may be an invitation to disaster, but with her twin brother on her trail and a new relationship on the horizon, Libby is determined to forget about fate. Will she risk it all to live—and love—a little longer?
From critically acclaimed author Camille Pagán comes a hilarious and hopeful story about a woman choosing between a “perfect” life and actually living.
First up, you know how I feel about whiners, I really cannot stand them. I really loved Libby in the beginning, could not stand her for the entire middle chunk, then grew to like her again. And the fact that I kept with this despite really not liking her is a testament to the story as a whole. Because I have to tell you, if you have had a family member or close friend go through cancer and subsequent treatments, Libby's decision to not even try can be a bit frustrating. On one hand, you're totally getting it- she's doomed to die, who wants to suffer to the very end like that? On the other, you're like, good god- just GO to the doctor and find out what you're really dealing with. Never mind her doctor has terrible bedside manner, or that her husband dropped a terrible truth on her just hours after being told she has cancer.
So she does what any of us wish we could do, she puts her house on the market, quits her job, and goes to the beach. She then meets a hunky beach guy after he almost kills her and she basically questions life and her motivations throughout life and questions the memories she has once she realizes her family has different memories of the same time. She really begins to question everything about her life, really. Ultimately, the book is about hope and perception. And the will to just help yourself because nobody will do it for you. Sometimes we have to be a grown up and do the hard stuff even when everything in us wants to crawl into a hole and die.
Something in this book kind of struck me as it kind of relates to me personally. In the book we find that Libby has loved Tom with everything in her for as long as she knew him. He was basically the be-all, end-all for her and you want to hate him for what he hid from her. You do because we women stick together and if any one of our husbands told us that, we'd come together to slash his tires, bare minimum. But on page 56, there was a line that just hit me hard because it's exactly what I had on repeat in my head during some of my own personal marriage woes:
"Paul was right: we were too young to be making such a major life decision. And while I may have been too foolish to know better, somewhere in his soul, Tom must have-he just must have-known he would one day betray me with his truth, and yet he went and married me anyway. I'll be honest: when I thought about this, I literally wanted to kill him, in the most grammatically accurate rendition of the phrase."
Gut punch if there ever was one. Another great thought from the book that life really is a near-death experience. In the end, I really enjoyed this book. I found it hard to put down, I found myself rooting for Libby even when I thought she was being a giant baby, and I loved the humor and optimism. It's a really great book and a full story (and range of emotions) in just 233 pages. This would make a GREAT Christmas gift for any friend. You can pick up this great book on Amazon, but in the meantime you can catch up with Camille Pagan on Twitter and her website.
Lucky for you, I can give away one copy of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences (US/Canada only)! All you have to do is:
- Leave a comment telling me what your favorite recent read is.
- Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you!
- Follow me on Bloglovin'!