Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twelve Months by Steven Manchester

Title: Twelve Months
Author: Steven Manchester
Publication Date: August 14, 2012
Length: 323 pages

When Don DiMarco finds out that he is dying of cancer, and only has an estimated twelve months to live, he decides to spend his remaining days accomplishing things he's always dreamed of doing, and spending time with his loved ones, rather than undergoing painful treatments in a futile effort to prolong his life.

The premise is great. I was expecting something like the movie The Bucket List, wherein two terminally ill men, played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, set out to do the things they want to do before they kick the bucket. Their list included things like skydiving, and riding motorcycles on the Great Wall of China. I love that movie.

Unfortunately, Don DiMarco's list is made up of things like driving a racing car, and getting a story published in a newspaper. So, while I appreciated that there was a bit more focus on spending time with his wife, daughter, and grandchildren than on the less important things in life, the result was not terribly exciting to read. Also, since Don seemed to already be a pretty good guy who spent time with his family before finding out he was dying, there wasn't the contrast you expect in this sort of story, where the main character learns a life lesson, and grows to appreciate the important things.

The other issue I had was the first chapter. It takes place in the present, before the story goes back in time to when Don finds out he's dying. In it, he is alive, and enjoying life like he never did before. It apparently takes place after the twelve months chronicled in the rest of the book. This seemed fine at the time, until I got to the end of the book and it became clear that the first chapter never happened. I'm not sure what the purpose of this was, but it left me feeling like I'd been tricked. Like the chapter is just there to throw you off.

2 stars. A moving story, that did make me shed a few tears, but I'm underwhelmed.

Full disclosure: Free copy received from the author.

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