Reviews

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

donttakemybooks's review against another edition

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3.0

Very readable book. I related a lot to Daisy's control freak personality. And of course her plight was emotional to read about. Her search for a new wife for Jack was more realistic and less cartoonish than I expected. My issues were mostly frustration with how Daisy reacts to dying by pushing Jack away and never really communicating with him about any of her feelings (he didn't share his either). All in all, good, but I expect it to be pretty forgettable.

kbranfield's review against another edition

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5.0

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley is a bittersweet, emotional and surprisingly humorous novel. It is a thought-provoking and riveting story about a twenty-seven year old cancer survivor who is stunned by the news her cancer has returned and she only has months to live.

Just as Daisy Richmond and her husband Jack are about to celebrate another Cancerversary, their world is turned completely upside down by her shocking diagnosis. The couple try to keep their lives as normal as possible but Daisy soon finds herself consumed with worries about how Jack will go on without her. She devises a plan to find him a replacement wife, but Daisy is surprised by her reaction when it looks like she might have succeeded in finding him the perfect woman.

Daisy is an über organized, strong and capable woman and she does not let her diagnosis defeat her. Her reaction to the news is believable and she definitely goes through all the stages of grief (albeit at an accelerated rate). She tries to maintain her regular routine, but her worry about how Jack will go on without her is soon uppermost in her mind. Daisy turns to her best friend Kayleigh for dating advice, and they concoct a somewhat harebrained but well-intentioned scheme to find Jack a new wife. In the process, Daisy pushes Jack away and in his helpless, absentminded way, he lets her. Daisy eventually figures out the reasons behind her actions, but is it too late for her to repair the damage to their relationship?

Before I Go is an incredibly heartwarming and realistic novel that is a perfect blend of heartache and humor. The cast of characters is appealing and beautifully developed with relatable flaws and imperfections. Colleen Oakley has an engaging writing style but it is the unique storyline that makes the story so captivating. Despite its serious subject matter, it is an overall light read that I absolutely loved and highly recommend.

fictionalkate's review against another edition

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4.0

Four years ago Daisy fought cancer and she won. Now 27 years old, Daisy should have her whole life to look forward to. She has a loving husband, a best friend who has always been there for her and a master's degree in psychology all but completed. But the cancer is back and this time Daisy's prognosis is not good. "Lots of cancer" has infected her body and now Daisy only has a few months left. With her expiration date approaching, Daisy knows her time is running out. But before she goes she wants to make sure her husband is taken care of - and that means finding him a new wife.

Before I Go is heartbreaking and lovely with a thoughtful take on mortality. Daisy is a fantastic character to follow as she starts the last chapter of her life. Her approach to life is believable - from her obsession with organic food to her love for her husband. Daisy's physical decline was written perfectly. Her confusion, anger and sense of loss at her future being taken away from her felt real. Daisy's desire to continue to live without people treating her different because of the "lots of cancer", her friends and family reaction to her diagnosis resonated with me.

I loved Before I Go although I do regret bringing it with me on my commute to work. Bursting into tears on public transport because of just how much Daisy made me feel - not my finest moment. I had reservations before I started reading - a book about a woman's last few months? There is so much potential to be depressing and whiney. But Colleen Oakley handled Daisy's story in such a smart and well-considered way with the right balance of bittersweet and humour.

Daisy's relationship with her husband Jack was a highlight of this novel. She wants him to be happy and looked after when she's not around to pick up after him. But she finds it harder than she expected to prepare for a life after she's gone. The problems they faced felt authentic - both prepping for after but also the way they communicated and interacted during the present. The friendship between Daisy and Kayleigh was another brilliant addition to the story. Jack and Kayleigh contrasted nicely and despite their differences, they both added to the beautiful tragedy of Daisy's diagnosis.

What I liked most about this book was how it wasn't all about the cancer nor about death despite Daisy's cancer being terminal. There is a strong message of love and living whilst you are alive. There are many heartfelt moments and a sense of hope despite it all.

Before I Go is an emotional journey dealing with death, life and love. Filled with beautiful moments and fantastic relationships, this book has been one of my favourite cancer related stories I've read and I can't wait to check out more by Colleen Oakley in the future.

Thanks to Allen and Unwin for the review copy

scrapanda's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful sad medium-paced

4.0

tlvz721's review against another edition

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emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

dilldaise's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 stars - I listened to this book. I wasn't thrilled with the narrator's voice; but I did like the story. I will admit; the final chapter which was by the husband brought tears to my eyes.

ashleylaughbox's review against another edition

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4.0

This book was witty and had an amazing vocabulary. I could actually feel as if I were part of this book, sitting there next to Daisy while she narrated the whole story. The end caught me off-guard and I love this book for that.

susanjanette's review against another edition

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emotional inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

marykl's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

haleynwatkins's review against another edition

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5.0

*4.5*
This story broke my heart! Ahhhh I can’t get over this. Even though it’s obvious the ending, I fell in love with Daisy’s character and my heart can’t take it! I think this is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in a while.
Would re-read, would highly recommend!