I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda
Published by Real You Publishing Group on May 1, 2014
Length: 214 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
If you knew you may die soon, what choices would you make?
Jennifer Benson has it all: a successful career, a perfect husband, two kids and abundant friendships. The only problem is she may be dying. In the Mirror is the realistic love story about a woman facing a deadly illness, and her loves past and present. It's a story that unfolds with a delightful blend of humor and poignancy, ringing true in the heart of anyone who has ignored a warning of her own.
In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda tore my heart to pieces! This story follows Jennifer Benson, a daghter, wife, mother who at the age of 34 is dying of an aggressive form of breast cancer. It begins with Jennifer meeting with her terminal friend Ralph who lives with her at Shady Valley (a hospice center). They are discussing, rather morbidly, her need for a party. This party is like a funeral before death. Jennifer wants to meet with the people who meant something to her before she dies and give them a true memory of her, instead of them seeing her in a casket.
The characters of this story are wonderfully written. Jennifer is the main character and the story is told from her POV. I was amazed at the depth the author went into when describing everything that Jennifer goes through. She took us through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). And just like in real life, these stages don’t necessarily come in order and the author showed that really well. Her husband Henry is just amazingly heartbreaking! At the beginning of the story we see a detached husband who is struggling to keep his family together and at the end he’s back to being the husband Jennifer remembers who kisses her just because.
The plot of this story is really quite simple. It’s a reflection of Jennifer’s life and how she is coping with her diagnosis of death. She chooses to focus on her good memories instead of the bad ones when remembering her past which leads to a little trouble with her ex Alex (nothing she and Henry can’t handle). There were a few moments were I couldn’t help but chuckle (gallows humor and the beginning of each chapter started with a drug warning label) It’s truly a heart-wrenching story as Jennifer asks the questions no one wants to ask. Who will raise her kids with Henry? Will they remember her? Will Henry fall in love with another woman, a younger healthy version of herself?
As a young wife and mother myself reading certain parts of this book proved to be too much. I sobbed, wondering how my own family would handle this situation. If you or someone you love has dealt with cancer, then you will understand Jennifer’s troubles all too well. Realistically written, I wouldn’t doubt that the author herself has seen this firsthand. If you enjoy realistic, women’s literature then I highly suggest you pick up this novel. It’s sweet, it will make you cry, but it’s so worth it!!