- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (Sept. 9 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039916734X
- ISBN-13: 978-0399167348
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 23.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 558 g
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #437,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Five Days Left Hardcover – Sep 9 2014
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“A beautifully drawn study of what is at risk when you lose control of your own life. Unique, gripping, and viscerally moving—this impressive debut novel heralds the arrival of an extremely talented writer.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times–bestselling author of Leaving Time
“Timmer’s novel is a heartbreaker, but it is also a stirring debut.” —BookPage
"Timmer's emotional debut should come with a box of tissues....The characters are so affecting it's tough to make it to Day 5. An Authentic and powerful story." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Told in the alternating voices of Mara and Scott, Timmer’s debut novel packs a powerful punch. Absorbing, deeply affecting, and ultimately uplifting, it heralds the arrival of an author to watch.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“This starkly intimate epistolary novel …dissects the experiences of losing hope and finding strength….Timmer makes a powerful debut.” —Publishers Weekly
“Like Joshilyn Jackson, Timmer, in her impressive debut novel, shows a facility for creating authentic characters dealing with heart-wrenching dilemmas….A compelling read and a good choice for book clubs.” —Booklist
About the Author
Julie Lawson Timmer grew up in Canada and earned a bachelor’s degree from McMaster University and a law degree from Southern Methodist University. She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and children and is a lawyer. This is her first novel; she is currently at work on her second.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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I felt the story of Mara was much larger and more developed than the storyline of Scott, which I found a little disappointing. I also was expecting there to be more of a connection to the 2 storylines than there were.
This book didn't blow my mind, and I wouldn't read it again, but it was interesting. And provided some interesting conversations for our book club and makes you think about what you would do in different situations.
It takes less than the first chapter to get into it
The book was well written
The characters were well developed
I very much enjoyed it
This book did that to me.
Five Days Left was a glimpse into the private lives of two families as they struggle to come to terms with the fact that there are things in their lives that they cannot control. While both story lines were weaved together well, it was Mara's story that was at the forefront. Not that Scott's decisions were less important, just different. I'm glad that his story intersected with Mara's because if the entire story was about her I think it would have been too much for me to bear.
Going into the book I thought I had it figured out. I knew that it would be an emotional read just from glancing at the book jacket but I didn't predict that it would make me think so much about the two issues that were raised involving suicide and foster parenting. My hats off to Ms Lawson Timmer for her ability to make me see both sides of these highly sensitive issues. At the end of the book I was left not knowing how I would have handled myself in a similar situations. This book made me think and feel. And I loved it.
In Mara's case, where she's suffering from a debilitating and devastating disease, it had me thinking about what my initial reaction would be if I saw someone stumbling (or worse) at the food store. Would I automatically assume it was due to an incurable disease? Or would I assume that the person was drunk? How would I have handled the situation if I was in Mara's unfortunate shoes?
The characters truly brought this book to a whole different level for me. They were believable and their relationships to each other were perfectly written. I loved Mara's relationship with her parents, her daughter and husband. I also loved Laurie's conflicting issues with Scott and how they figured out their future as a family. Even the secondary characters, like Mara's parents and Harry, the cabbie, were well fleshed out and felt authentic and important to the story. Add into the fact that I loved the author's voice from the beginning and you can see why I got so involved into this book. It was riveting from beginning to end.
One of the most important things that I will take away from this book is that I was educated on the devastating physical and emotional effects of Huntington's Disease. I could feel Mara's humiliation as she struggled with the increasingly embarrassing results of the degenerative disease that was taking over her life. I could also understand her desire to not wanting her family to watch her suffer and deal with the pain of caring for all of her needs in the near future. But I also didn't want her to end her life. Mara's options were portrayed so well that I honestly didn't know what her decision would be until the I finished the book.
Not everyone will agree with the decisions that were made in this book -- and that's okay. People will react differently to this book and, for that reason, I think that this book would make an excellent choice for a book club. I think that everyone who reads this book will be on the edge of their seats wondering what Mara's choice will be because there are no simple answers.
This was an exceptional book for me but if pressed to give a suggestion to improve it I'd have to say that I would have loved to have had the viewpoints of some of the secondary characters (like like Laurie and Tom, Mara's husband or even Harry). Even if it was only within an epilogue, their input would have helped to give me a better understanding of their struggles and fears.
This was an exceptionally good debut from a new Canadian author. It was powerful and poignant and covered a lot of emotional ground. From biological versus non-biological children, sacrifice versus suicide, terminal illness, depending on strangers versus turning to family for emotional support ... This book has a lot packed into it but I love that the author doesn't try to give the reader the answers. Honestly, I don't think there is one definitive answer. Instead, Lawson Timmer gives the reader different views of these two emotional decisions and allows them to come up with their own conclusions. I think that this is one of the aspects of the book that impressed me the most.
This was a home run for me. The characters were beautifully and realistically portrayed. The plot kept me at the edge of my seat as it dealt with serious issues without pity but with sympathy and respect. The author's ability to weave two different stories together was seamless and I loved how she incorporated all kinds of family relationships and dynamics. And, last but not least, her talent for writing an emotional read (to the point when I'm crying with a huge lump in my throat and my dog is looking at me like I'm crazy) is unparalleled. Needless to say, I'm very eager to see what future literary gems she will produce.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
** This book review, as well as hundreds more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot.ca) where I also share tried and true recipes. **
This book contains two very different stories with barely a connection, but it works. I liked Scott's story more than Mara's for different reasons. I won't go into the details because I don't want to spoil it for other readers. Scott is about to lose his foster son, who is being reunited with his mother. Mara has Huntington's Disease and has decided to commit suicide before the disease ravages her beyond all recognition. They have five days left.
I loved the characters in this book and felt a connection with them right away. Not a small feat for an author. The emotions evoked by this book are very real and I shed more than a few tears while reading it. To me it had all of the things I look for in a good story. I would recommend it to anyone.
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