Usually, when I stay up into the early hours of the morning to read, it’s because the book is so good I can’t put it down. Something like Lay’s potato chips, just one more
page chip, until you reach the end. That wasn’t the case with Five Days Left. My last sentence would indicate a lousy read, but that wasn’t (exactly) the case.
Mara Nichols is a successful lawyer, devoted wife, and adoptive mother who has received a life-shattering diagnosis. 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 and the power of relationships; and shows that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go.
Five Days Left is Julie Lawson Timmer’s freshman effort. In my opinion and as far as debut novels go, I would rank hers in the top twenty percent. The promise of it lies within her voice and writing style. Jodi Picoult says, “…this impressive debut novel heralds the arrival of an extremely talented writer.”
I also believe Timmer has carved herself out a place in the literary world. But, enough about the author. She has shown the reading world she has talent, but the book was not without a bit of negative.
Timmer writes of two people who are each going through the prospect of loss, although a bit different in nature. The book delves into the human aspect, how each handles the particular hand they were dealt.
Mara has been delivered an unthinkable diagnosis: Huntington’s disease. Scott has to give up Curtis, the young boy he has been fostering while his mother serves a jail term. Although Scott and Mara never meet in person, they are joined by an online forum and have truly begun to care about the other’s life. That is the thread that winds its way through the theme of loss. I deliberately kept that brief as to not give away spoilers.
Again, I enjoyed the voice and style of the book, but there were also things I didn’t enjoy so much. For one, the story takes place over the course of five days. And a lo-o-o-ng five days it was. I believe the author did a good job of setting the story up, but after that, it was a lot of the same simply said in different ways. If you are a skimmer, as I am, you are bound to find yourself skimming over the repetitive and/or boring parts. And there are boring parts.
The online forum. Fluff. It served no real purpose except to link two separate stories -each of novella length – and create one full-length work of fiction. Although I found the book to be a predictable read, the one thing I was expecting that didn’t happen was for Scott and Mara to have a connection aside from the forum. Without that, it was two separate stories of impossible choices and devastation linked together by an online forum full of ‘cyber friends’.
If you pick up this title keep in mind that it is a debut novel. Rather good for what it is, but the point I’m trying to make is – keep your eye out for future books from this author. Although I found issues with the story that kept it from being ‘unputdownable’ (it’s an industry term 🙂 ), the writing itself deserves merit.
As anyone who follows my blog knows, I don’t put a lot of stock into Amazon reviews, but for those who do value them, a solid 4-star read.
Have you read it? Thoughts? Weigh in below!