Thursday, July 10, 2014
FIVE DAYS LEFT (JULIE LAWSON TIMMER)
Penguin USA | September 9, 2014 | Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-399-16734-8
Mara, a lawyer, has been diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. There is no cure and she will eventually lose all control of her body and mind and die. Her husband, Tom, is a dermatologist and they have one daughter, Lakshmi who is five-years-old.
Tom is a patient and kind husband who loves his wife with all his heart but little Lakshmi doesn't understand why her mother falls down and often looks like she's drunk. She is somewhat ashamed of her mother and asks her not to come to her school anymore because the other children tease her and call her mother "a drunk." Mara is devastated and tearful but understands that Lakshmi and other children her age don't know what Huntington's is or how it affects the body. All Lakshmi knows is that her Mom doesn't act like all the other Moms do.
Mara decides that she wants to be in control of her own demise and so begins a list of things she needs to do to prepare to die at her own hand. She is giving herself five days. Mara doesn't want to suffer at the end and doesn't think it's fair to have Tom and other people caring for her very personal needs and decides it would be kinder to herself, her parents and her friends if she was gone before she got to that stage.
Mara gets support from an online community she joined called "Not Your Father's Family Forum" where she has met some nice people but they don't know that she has Huntington's or that she is planning to kill herself. She involves herself in the other people's lives, especially that of Scott.
Scott, a middle school teacher and his wife, Laurie are expecting their own child soon and are currently foster parents to eight-year-old, Curtis. Curtis's Mom is serving a year's jail sentence and will be taking Curtis back upon her release. There are five days left til her sentence ends and Scott has big plans for Curtis over the next five days to celebrate the year that he has lived with himself and Laurie.
Curtis is a troubled boy and gets into lots of problems at school and at home, but Scott and Laurie have been good for, Curtis. Being young they have the patience and understanding to cope with the problems Curtis displays.
Curtis has an older brother who attends university and plays football so he is unable to care for Curtis.
As Scott is excited about his plans for the next five days, Curtis's Mom gets out of jail early and arrives at the school and takes Curtis throwing a complete monkey wrench into all Scott's plans for his last five days.
FIVE DAYS LEFT is a story about what people can and will do under extraordinary circumstances. It's about love, faith, and understanding but also about what it's like to lose control of your life. We all like to be in control and when that control is taken away from us we often find ourselves floundering around not knowing which direction to take.
I couldn't put this book down. I began reading and when I looked back up at the clock I was astonished at how much time had passed by. I expect FIVE DAYS LEFT to be a big hit. I think it would make a great book club pick as there are so many aspects and different issues to be discussed in a novel such as this. I'll be keeping this one as part of my permanent collection as I'll definitely want to read it again.