Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, by Camille Pagán {ends 9/29}

"I'm sorry, Libby. I was only trying to be helpful when I said you should see someone. You should, you know. You're not acting like yourself."

"The Libby you know is dead, Tom," I said. "And by the way, I changed the locks. Until I get back and hire an attorney, you'll need to find somewhere else to live."

I took my luggage and rather ungracefully maneuvered it through the front door, down the sidewalk, and onto the crub. Then I stuck my fingers in my mouth and whistled for the livery cab I had called to take me to O'Hare. The rest of my life was waiting, and I did not intend to be late.

This was a quick read that I was able to devour on two separate flights home from L.A. this past week, where I was at an entertainment bloggers conference. I read a little bit on my first flight (Burbank to Vegas) and finished it on my second (Vegas to Detroit) and even though it deals with some heavy subjects, overall it's a light and fast read.

Official synopsis:
Libby Miller has always been an unwavering optimist—but when her husband drops a bomb on their marriage the same day a doctor delivers devastating news, she realizes her rose-colored glasses have actually been blinding her.

With nothing left to lose, she abandons her life in Chicago for the clear waters and bright beaches of the Caribbean for what might be her last hurrah. Despite her new sunny locale, her plans go awry when she finds that she can’t quite outrun the past or bring herself to face an unknowable future. Every day of tropical bliss may be an invitation to disaster, but with her twin brother on her trail and a new relationship on the horizon, Libby is determined to forget about fate. Will she risk it all to live—and love—a little longer?

From critically acclaimed author Camille Pagán comes a hilarious and hopeful story about a woman choosing between a “perfect” life and actually living.


Libby finds out she has cancer, and on the same day, she comes home and also finds out that her husband is gay. He wants to try to work out their marriage, as he still loves her, but she freaks out, and refuses. She doesn't tell him or anyone in her family about the news, as her mother died of cancer and it was an awful time for everyone, and she flees to an island near Puerto Rico.

On the island, she finds new friends (and a new love), whom she actually does tell about her diagnosis; during this same time, she has to decide if she wants to get chemo and try to save her life, or die without it, all the while remembering her mother's last days and how difficult they were.

I wasn't a huge fan of Libby as the protagonist at first, but she kind of grew on me. She's very dramatic, but her "voice" (aka, the author's) made me laugh out loud quite a few times (getting strange looks from my plane seatmates!) which is always a good thing.

I apparently reviewed another book of Pagán's in August 2011 - The Art of Forgetting - although I don't remember it that much (irony, title-wise!); I may reread it in the future, as I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. She's also a fellow UM grad (Go Blue!) who majored in English and Native American literature, according to her website.

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences will be available for purchase on November 5th. 4 stars out of 5.

{Click here to pre-order}

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

GIVEAWAY:

Two of my lucky readers will win a hardcover copy of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, September 29th, at 11:59pm EST, and the winners will be notified via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

Life/Other Near-Death Experiences

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