In this hopeful, humorous, and astonishingly deft debut, Allison Winn Scotch explores what happens when a young woman thinks she's lost everything that matters' and ends up discovering what's truly important. This is a novel that will leave you taking stock of what's important in your own life . . . and never letting it go.
It didn't start out as the worst day of Natalie Miller's life. At 30, she is moving up the political ladder, driven by raw ambition and ruthless determination. As the top aide to New York's powerful female senator, she works hard, stays late, and enjoys every bit of it, even if the bills she's pushing through do little to improve the lives of the senator's constituents. And if her boyfriend isn't the sexiest guy alive, at least he's a warm body to come home to.
Then he announces he's leaving. But that news is barely a blip compared to what Natalie's doctor tells her: She has breast cancer. And she can't cure it by merely being headstrong. Now the life Natalie must change is her own.
All her energy, what little of it she has left, must go into saving herself from a merciless disease. So when she's not lying on the sofa recovering from her treatments and indulging in a curious addiction to The Price Is Right, she realizes it's time to take a hard look at her choices. She begins by tracking down the five loves-of-her-life to assess what went wrong. Along the way, she questions her relationships with her friends, her parents, her colleagues, the one who got away, and, most important, with herself: Why is she so busy moving through life that she never stops to embrace it?
As Natalie sleuths out the answers to these questions, her journey of self-discovery takes her down new paths and to unexplored places. And she learns that sometimes when life is at its most unexpected, it's not what you lose that makes you who you are . . . it's what you find.
©2007, 2011 Allison Winn Scotch (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
The book was a good debut novel. It was a heart wrenching story, but no where in the description did it mention a 30 year old had to have both breasts removed. With all the breast cancer victims in the world today, you might want to give them warning to be sure they are ready to face their experience again.
If this is an Allison Winn Scotch "debut" novel, then I can say she's bettered her craft considerably since writing this book.The situations here are so simple and archetypal they have become "de rigueur", and the author engages in the customary contemporary product placements, brand names, etc. A sidebar: why do all the latest novels now have a "sectional sofa" - perversely even called a "couch" - that is always mentioned as if to specifically connote trendiness?
Anyway, this is mild enough to be a beach read, even the hard-hitting and traumatic health situation, which turns out all OK if a bit of a stretch. Becoming social with one's gynecologist is also a bit unrealistic but I guess it's part of suspending disbelief. I can't be more specific or I'll commit spoilage.
This novel is very well-written, delivers all the right messages, and flows smoothly and energetically, but I prefer the much more complex and interesting, even ironic, setups in "Time of My Life" and even "The Song Remains the Same".
Narration is good, and I have been happy with other books read by Julia Whelan.
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