Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer

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Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Scott and Mara both have five days left until their deadlines and it's just not enough time for either of them in this neatly woven story.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: August 2014
Publisher: Century
ISBN: 978-1780892139

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Mara and Scott are both on a countdown. Each has five days left. But when the weekend comes, who will be happy, who will be mourning, and who will be out of the picture forever?

This is a story that could have gone horribly wrong, and yet instead it goes horribly right. This truly is a five day countdown but these are five long days, each several chapters long. This is definitely a book you invest in for the long haul.

Mother of one Mara has Huntington’s disease. A former high flying professional, she is now a shell of the woman she once was. An incontinent, stumbling, infuriated shell. When the disease first struck she made a deal with herself that she would call the shots, she would decide how and when it took her, the one last modicum of control she could exert. Mara, you see, has five days left to live.

Scott, on the other hand, has five days left of his current life. He’s not dying, or going anywhere, but a semi-permanent presence in his wife will be leaving soon and he’s distraught at the thought. The two meet on an online forum for a-typical families (Mara is an adoptive, and adopted, mother, while Scott fosters) and so their stories start to intertwine. It’s a plot device that works well as although either story alone is enough, the combination of the two tales together is extremely powerful.

While this is a thick, chunky book, it is easy to read and the two main plots are fully formed and defined so you can switch between them easily. The two perspectives allow suspense to build too, as the focus switches from one narrator to another at crucial moments.

This is intelligent, well researched fiction of the sort often seen in Jodi Picoult's books. In fact, it was a quote from Picoult on the dust jacket that made me want to give this one a go as I wasn’t sure the story could really work. I think what I really valued was that Mara was scientific and pragmatic in her retelling of how she’d got to the point she was at – although the book was emotional, it wasn’t because the characters demanded it be. As seems to be a theme with me now, it was the final epilogue, some letters, which tipped me over the edge.

This is a very different book and I like it very much. It is long and it takes a while, but it is worth it. Recommended.

For a different look at a terminal illness, you might enjoy Right to Die by Hazel McHaffie

Buy Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer at

Buy Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer at


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