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Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!

Review: Life and Other Near-Death Experiences

— feeling cry
Life and Other Near-Death Experiences - Camille Pagán

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagán is a cross between women’s fiction and chick-lit. Camille Pagán takes the topic of death and living each day as your last in a way that will make you cheer, as well as cry. Even though the heroine is dying of cancer, the overall tone is very lighthearted and positive because of what the heroine does after she finds out her diagnosis. She tosses her entire comfortable life out the window and tries to live her remaining days the best way she knows how. But there are some roadblocks that pop up in the form of family and friends, and some new companions who want the heroine to get the treatment to fight her disease even though she doesn’t want to.

 

Libby finds out she has cancer, and may have only a year left to live. In shock, because her mother also died of cancer when she was a little girl, and she’s only 29, she plans on telling her husband Tom, her rock and biggest supporter next to her twin brother Paul. But then Tom drops a bombshell on Libby. He thinks he’s gay. Even though he’s never cheated on Libby and he swears he still loves her, Libby is destroyed, which then turns to anger. She decides to quit her job as a personal assistant to a nightmare boss, sell her condo, divorce Tom and take a trip to Puerto Rico to find some peace and calm before the disease eats away at her. She doesn’t tell anyone she’s sick, not even Tom who doesn’t understand why she’s acting so strange. Libby doesn’t care what Tom thinks, or anyone else for that matter.

 

Libby has quite the adventure getting to her island paradise. The pilot Shiloh, an older handsome man almost kills her before she can set foot on dry land because of his rickety plane. She’s not too happy with him, but eventually she forgives him and they end up having a type of go with the flow type of friendship which may or may not become something more. As Libby remembers her mother dying, among many other memories, including her closeness with her father and her brother Paul, she wonders what has been the point of her entire life now that she’ll die too soon?

 

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences has many messages within these pages. Libby is a firecracker of a woman who has been dealt a raw deal. She takes her illness in stride by trying to figure out how to function before she wastes away. Shiloh comes into her life exactly when she needs a new person to guide her in the right direction. The chemistry between them was right there from the start, but a word of warning- Libby has a sexual relationship with Shiloh while she’s still married to Tom, which is adultery. Readers who have an issue with that may find Libby’s move selfish especially the way she treats Tom, who hasn’t acted on his feelings for other men while married to Libby. I didn’t feel Tom was the bad guy Libby was making him out to be. She overreacted toward him, which I guess could be blamed on her cancer, but it was somewhat cruel and selfish the way she ignored him and didn’t tell him her prognosis. The author tries to show their marriage as rocky, even though the reasons are pretty weak. Shiloh is a great counterpart for Libby (again if you can get beyond Libby cheating). He doesn’t want Libby to throw in the towel, and wants her to live.

 

Paul, Libby’s brother is a great character and a sweetheart. His bond with Libby is one of the best things in the story. I would love to have a prequel about Paul and his childhood, including his own relationships with his partner and the two boys they raise.

 

There are many moments of humor and scene that will give you a good chuckle. The ending may make you grab some tissues because there’s a HEA for Libby, and one that gives you many feels.