Synopsis: 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?
Somehow to say you enjoyed a book about a young woman dying of cancer seems callous; nonetheless I did enjoy this novel. One reason is, the characters are very believable leaving me wondering if this is a true story, disguised as fiction. I like both Daisy and her husband Jack; their dialogue sounds authentic; it is easy to appreciate how two people who love each other totally, cannot talk about the elephant in the room. I’m sure many of us have experienced a total inability to communicate when simple communication is what is needed most.
I almost didn’t read Before I Go, because I have a young friend with the same cancer as Daisy, triple negative breast cancer, and I expected it to be a very depressing story, yet, in so many ways, this is a funny book.
Daisy is not above taking the mickey out of herself, such as her assertion that she has always been an overachiever and now her “Lots of Cancer” just shows she excels even here. Rather than depressing it is life affirming.
This is a debut novel from Colleen Oakley and I hope it is not her last. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for my ARC. In Australia this novel is published by Allen and Unwin.