If you are an avid reader like I am, you have your favorite authors and never miss a new book of theirs when it comes out. I am always excited to dive into the latest story, written by what feels like a trusted friend. Quite often I don’t even read the new title’s synopsis when I learn of its release and once I have the book in hand I begin the journey without knowing a thing about it.
A new book arrived the other day. By accident, I saw its summary online that same day and I really wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. The tale is of a woman in her sixties who has been diagnosed with a rare, incurable disease and the impact it has on her grown children. Never one to stick my head in the sand, due in large part to life not allowing me to do so, I was surprised by my immediate aversion. I love this author and I know the novel’s heart will be its characters and not a medical condition. I read biographies and other non-fiction, not just bodice-ripping romances and summer beach reads. After all, if the knight in shining armor isn’t arriving on his white horse with a set of new optic nerves, he’s not much of a hero to me. I digress. The word “bodice” can really throw a modern woman for a loop.
Did I fear the storyline of the new book would hit too close to home, having lost my mom to cancer?The disorder in the book is not cancer but even if it was, who hasn’t been touched by someone they love fighting that most prevalent of enemies? My mom’s illness is not unique and I believe we are all connected by life’s hardships, no matter their name. So why should this plot bother me enough to pass on what I am sure would be a compelling 400 pages?
The relationship between a beloved author and their reader is strong and it won out. I started it and was hooked. I can’t put it down and the mother’s diagnosis was not even introduced until page 180. Just like real life, the antagonist in this book is only one part of the story. Thank goodness I gave this novel a chance; I have enjoyed every page and even had to pry myself away to write this post.
I know that you can’t judge a book by its cover but I also should have known this: A diagnosis does not a life make.