Review: 'Five Days Left' by Julie Lawson Timmer (2014)
Destined to be a book club favorite, a heart-wrenching debut about two people who must decide how much they’re willing to sacrifice for love.
Mara Nichols, a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and adoptive mother, has recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Scott Coffman, a middle school teacher, has been fostering an eight-year-old boy while the boy’s mother serves a jail sentence. Scott and Mara both have five days left until they must say good-bye to the ones they love the most. Through their stories, Julie Lawson Timmer explores the individual limits of human endurance, the power of relationships, and that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go.
Thanks to the lovely people at Random House I received a review copy of Julie Lawson Timmer’s upcoming release ‘Five Days Left’. The book will be released on the 28th of August and is author Julie Lawson Timmer’s debut novel. After reading the short blurb, I knew this would most likely be a quite intense and emotional read considering the subject of the book and it straight away made me think of Jodi Picoult’s novels. I was looking forward to giving the book a chance and found myself hoping I wouldn’t be needing too many tissues along the way!
Mara is a successful lawyer and a complete workaholic. She loves her job almost as much as she loves her husband Tom and their adopted daughter Lakshmi. Yet, Mara’s life is turned completely upside down when she suddenly discovers she has Huntington’s Disease. Slowly, she feels like she is becoming a burden to the people around her, which is a nightmare for someone as independent as Mara. She promised herself that when her symptoms would reach a certain point of no-return, she would end her life on her own terms instead of waiting for things to get even worse. Scott is happily married to Laurie who is pregnant with their first child and together they are the foster parents of a young boy named Curtis, whose mother is in prison for a year. Scott works with troubled children and he is extremely passionate about his job. He has become really attached to Curtis and doesn’t want to let the boy go, even though he knows he will have to. Both Mara and Scott have 5 days left with their loved ones, just 5 days to say goodbye in their own way...
Wow, this book definitely makes it into the top 10 of the most intense books I’ve read the past couple of years. Julie Lawson Timmer’s gripping and detailed writing style fits this particular genre perfectly and almost made me feel everything the characters were feeling. The book consists of two storylines, one told from the perspective of mother and wife Mara and one from the perspective of foster parent and soon-to-be father Scott. I thought both stories were really fascinating and they managed to capture my attention from start to finish. The fact that the book simply focuses on these five days the two protagonists have left to say goodbye to their loved ones provides the reader with a lot of detail and many thoughts, which results in a close connection with the characters and what they are going through.
It definitely made me think; what would I do in these specific situations? Did I support and understand the decisions Mara and Scott made? Would I do things differently? Because of this, the book is the perfect thought-provoking read for book clubs or to discuss with other readers or a friend. It are definitely two stories that will make you think and also two stories that will stay with me for quite some time to come. Fans of Jodi Picoult’s work should definitely give this book a chance, or anyone else who is looking for a captivating read. ‘Five Days Left’ is an incredibly emotional, moving and gripping read; one that will definitely make an impression on its readers.