Every once and awhile I need to remind myself to read outside my usual fare. I like reading the romance filled hilarity of chick lit or the emotional rides of women’s fiction and because I like that I tend to stick with it. I read to be entertained so I stay with what I know will work. Why am I mentioning this? Because I recently read Twelve Months by Steven Manchester and I enjoyed it, even though it wasn’t what I normally tend to pick up.
Here’s the synopsis:
Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.
A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, TWELVE MONTHS is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.
Getting cancer is probably high up there on the list of nightmares for a lot of people. It’s not an easy topic to discuss or deal with and I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest thing to write about either. I admit that reading about Don’s journey was hard. I think Manchester did a good job of showing just how devastating cancer can be while also showing what can happen when you have the right attitude. Don is upset when he first learns of his diagnosis, as is his family. Who wouldn’t be? But slowly he understands that approaching the end of life with a positive outlook is the best possible way to go about things. It makes sense. Why be angry for your last few months of your life?
What I liked about this novel was that I felt like I was right beside Don during his whole ordeal. It was like I was just sitting on his shoulder, hanging out while he lived his last few months. This was a great feeling for the most part. Where I struggled with this all knowing feeling was when Manchester described some of the physical symptoms and side effects Don was having. I get that cancer isn’t pretty, I do. But there are only so many times one can read about a character having issues on the toilet. Cutting back on those scenes, and others like it, probably would have helped my enjoyment a little more. I wouldn’t want them out completely because it wouldn’t have been realistic, but a few less detailed scenes could have gone a long way with me.
The relationship between Don and Bella is darn near perfect. They are so ridiculously in love that I couldn’t imagine one without the other. You can really see that love in the excerpt I posted awhile back. I didn’t know how Bella would survive once Don passed. She was a strong woman, though, and a fabulous wife.
Twelve Months was an emotional but good novel. Steven Manchester wrote a story that was both devastating and uplifting at the same time. If stories like these are your usual favourites, definitely read this one. And, hey, even if it’s not, give it a try. I learned that branching out a little can lead to reading great books that make you look at life a little differently – and that’s definitely a good thing.