If you were told you only had a year to live, what would you do? Susan Spencer-Wendel decided to create memories for her loved ones, travel the world, and live her last few months on earth with joy. This book is her way of not only chronicling her struggles as her body slowly deteriorates from ALS but also tell the story of her life for her children to cherish one day when she is no longer with them. The lessons she imparts and the love she shares makes this an inspirational read for all my friends because you never know when your time on this earth will be up.
There are so many experiences Susan Spencer-Wendel shares about her unique life: getting married on the fly and moving to Hungary with her new husband, watching the space shuttle take off from the top of a van in the Florida heat, swimming with dolphins, creating an oasis of peace in her backyard, etc. I think my favorite part of the book, however, was the trip she took with her best friend to see the Northern Lights. The friendship she and Nancy share is truly inspiring, and I hope that if any one of my friends is ever placed in the position where they lose use of their muscles, I will be there to help zip up their snow suit and strap them to a dog sled.
As a 22 year old woman, when I read books, I read them in my own voice, which is really off-the-mark from Susan Spencer-Wendel's. Karen White's narration made me feel like I was hearing Spencer-Wendel's story from the woman herself, almost as if she were in the room with me, recounting the stories from memory. White read this as if she were Spencer-Wendel, with all the emotion and humor she had written into the book. It really felt as if she were narrating with joy, just as Spencer-Wendel was living with joy.
The main character's life was annoyingly in disarray, which made her a bit hard to relate to at times, but Ahern's signature mixture of strangeness and heartwarming humor made this a really enjoyable read nonetheless. Ahern always has interesting premises in her books, and this was one of the most creative ones she's come up with. I read this book a couple of months ago, and I still find myself thinking about it on a weekly basis. It really sticks with you. The narrator is amazing, but I may be a bit biased because I love Irish accents.
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