I received this book from Netgalley for review consideration.
Before I Go by Colleen Oakley
Published by Gallery Books on January 6th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Women, Death & Dying, Fiction, Marriage & Family
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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?
A great deal of my favorite books from last year were from debut authors, so it only felt right that I should start 2015 with another debut. This one, Before I Go by Colleen Oakley, was blurbed as “A heart-wrenching debut novel in the bestselling tradition of P.S. I Love You“. Although I still haven’t finished P.S. I Love You, the words “heart-wrenching” sold me on Oakley’s debut, because we all know that I love a good cry with a book.
I’m not giving anything away that isn’t already out there in the synopsis, Daisy was about to celebrate three years of being cancer free, only it’s come back and more aggressive than before. She sets out on a mission to find a new wife for her husband, Jack, with the help of her best friend.
I read Before I Go so fast, picking it up on New Year’s Day and being forced to put it down to eat and enjoy some family time, then finishing it the next day. Any other day of the year, and I would’ve read it in one sitting.
Now I do get overly emotional when reading books such as Before I Go, so I knew that there would come a point near the end where I would be struggling to read the words through my water-logged eyes. I was not prepared for just how much Before I Go would affect me. Oakley’s words didn’t just tear my heart out, they blew it up in to a million tiny pieces.
Reading Before I Go curled up in the corner of the sofa, with my husband in the other corner, I would occasionally offer little snippets of what was going on, knowing at some point that he would need to understand why I was crying. By the end he just looked at me and pulled me in for a big hug…which made the tears pour even faster.
I could not imagine going through what Daisy does in Before I Go, but I know it happens somewhere to somebody nearly every day. I only hope that I would be as strong as she, and my husband as strong as Jack.