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14 May 2015

Review: 'Before I Go' by Colleen Oakley (2015)

Daisy never asks you to feel sorry for her.

Daisy is 27-years-old and has only months to live. And, each day, she's finding her way through what needs to be done.

Her major worry is what her wonderful, charming husband, Jack, will do without her. She knows that he won't take care of himself so Daisy has to do it for him. As she searches for Jack's next wife, she begins to realise that her plan to ensure Jack's happiness is much more complicated than she expected.

Earlier this year I spotted the upcoming American release of Colleen Oakley's debut novel 'Before I Go.' I was immediately intrigued by the description of the novel and added it to my TBR-list. Lucky me when I was contacted by publisher Allen & Unwin not too long ago about the UK release of 'Before I Go' (on the 7th of May) and whether I was interested in reviewing the novel. Of course I said yes and quickly found a copy of the book in my mailbox, together with a packet of tissues. I already had a feeling I would definitely be needing those tissues while reading the book and was curious to pick up the novel and dive into the story!

At the age of 24, Daisy received a big shock when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, three years later and after having beaten the illness, she and her husband Jack are about to celebrate her three year 'Cancerversary'. Yet, it's on that day that the doctor tells her the cancer is back and already at stage 4, which means she most likely only has a few months left to live. Instead of making a wishlist of things to do before time's up, Daisy is mainly worried about Jack and how he's going to cope without having her around, without someone to take care of him. Daisy decides there's no other option but to help Jack, so she goes on a search to find him a new wife. However, Daisy's quest is not an easy one and while time's ticking away, Daisy is forced to not only think of Jack's happiness, but also her own.

If you're looking for a heart-breaking story that will almost certainly have you reaching for a box of tissues, Colleen Oakley's 'Before I Go' will definitely do the trick. This is an incredibly authentic and gripping story that reminded me a bit of Cecelia Ahern's beautiful novel 'P.S. I Love You.' Protagonist Daisy is a strong and independent young woman who finds herself battling cancer for the second time, and this time around she is set to lose. Throughout the novel, we follow Daisy on her journey, with a focus on just a few other well-developed and interesting characters such as Daisy's husband Jack and best friend Kayleigh.

The book deals with a topic that can be difficult to read or talk about to some people, namely the passing away of a loved one. Colleen Oakley has managed to approach this topic with a ton of emotion and authenticity, and it really made me think twice about life and how we never really know what could happen to suddenly change everything. The book is quite an emotional rollercoaster, from laughter to anger to tears (especially the last couple of chapters really made me reach for the tissues). Overall, 'Before I Go' is a strikingly thoughtful, melancholic and touching read, and without a doubt a stunning debut by author Colleen Oakley.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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