It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that can be described as “women’s fiction” (a term which is used alternately as a more PC synonym for “chick lit” and to simply describe adult literature centered around women). It’s not my favorite genre (I’m not a huge fan of cheesy drama), but I do still read it occasionally. But the premise of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences appealed to me, as did the title, so I decided to give it a shot.
Libby has cancer. She barely hears what the doctor is saying after he utters that terrible C-word. Dazed, and holding back tears, she heads home to her husband of eight years who chooses that moment to tell her that he’s gay. Libby refuses to listen to his claims that he still loves her and wants to stay married. Instead, she sells their furniture and their apartment, quits her job (which she hated anyway) and jets off to Puerto Rico. After watching her mother go though it all, Libby has decided that she’s going to forego treatment. If she only has six months to live, she’s going to live them. But despite abandoning her entire life in Chicago, she can’t quite shake her past or come to terms with a very uncertain future.
If cancer was a gift, I wanted to return it. I didn’t need a fast-acting tumor to remind me about the fleeting nature of life
I feel like cancer books are becoming their own genre, because I have read more of them than I can count in the past couple years. But, I liked this one. I loved Libby! Honestly, she dealt with a lot of very traumatic things the same way I’d hope to (even if it was a little crazy). I thought this book, given it’s somewhat wild premise, was actually pretty realistic. I really enjoyed the characters, and their relationships. Even the secondary characters had a lot of depth, and were very memorable. I’m kicking myself for not reading this book earlier (I’ve had a copy since it came out in November). It was a highly enjoyable novel that dealt with serious issues, while at the same time being fun and even lighthearted at times.
I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys books like Me Before You or anything by Emily Griffin. I added Pagán’s other novel, The Art of Forgetting to my TBR, and will keep it in mind next time I’m in the mood for women’s fiction.
If you’re interested, you can purchase Life and Other Near-Death Experiences from Amazon and other book retailers.
This book was provided to me by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.