Why BEFORE I GO Is More Than A Cancer Book

book coverOkay, I get it. The weeping. The FAULT IN OUR STARS comparisons (which really make sense). The actual whole cancer thing.

But don’t dismiss my buddy Colleen Oakley’s BEFORE I GO as just a “cancer book.” Because it’s so much more than that.

It’s a love story. Between Daisy and Jack, who met when he rescued her from a bumblebee, and are opposites in so many ways. It’s about Jack’s socks and Daisy’s OCD tendencies, and crooked teeth and laugh lines.

It’s the story of a marriage. It’s about a home two people have built together and the things that bind them and the things that fall apart. It’s about the widening space between two people on the bed they’ve shared for so many years. And about what has to happen to close that gap.

It’s a story about mortality. A story about what we’d do if faced with the impossible. About decisions made and regrets to suffer. About the things we do and the things we let go. And about what we decide we want to leave behind, if given that choice.

It’s a character study. One about a person, who, like all of us, is inevitably flawed. Who, faced with that impossible challenge, is doing her best. Despite being cranky. Who makes mistakes and realizes after the fact and nearly loses it all before she really has to. Who has good intentions and terrible execution and still cracks jokes right till the end. But in the end, it’s about a woman who hopes the best for the ones she loves, even if that’s not best for her.

It’s catharsis. Yes, you’ll need a full box of tissues. Let’s get that right out of the way. Because even if you’ve never stared down your own mortality, you’ve been in Daisy’s shoes — and lost your balance. And maybe, if you’re lucky, like Daisy, you’ve managed to grasp on to something and right yourself, too.

So yes, Colleen Oakley’s BEFORE I GO is a cancer book. But it’s so much more than that. Ready for your moment of catharsis? You can find it here or here or here!

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An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, SONA CHARAIPOTRA currently curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for Parade.com. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Twisted and Vampire Diaries. But call it research: Sona is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com or CAKELiterary.com.

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