Book cafe Reflection

From unexpected book comes life mantra

I didn’t have any expectations for this novel. Yes, the cover was charming and the synopsis was catchy, but what eventually sold me was…. the major sale price! Hey tough times. Therefore, instant grab, and life goes on. What I didn’t know was how much impact this story is about to have on my daily life.

I must confess that I wrongly interpreted the synopsis. I thought it was about a young woman pursuing a dream goal while suffering from a long-standing injury. After foolishly exclaiming that this book was about me, my sister broke my stride by confirming the actual synopsis. She handed me back the book and rhetorically asked:  “You’re terminally ill?”

So, rereading I did. Oooohh…. I see…

Emma, the protagonist, is facing the end of her road. A brain tumor is winning her 3 year battle, and she needs to find a way to live out her dreams in spite of it. Quite different from what I had thought but I guess the price tag made me see things.
The honest truth? My interest slightly decreased for two reasons:  I had less to relate to, and I suddenly imagined an unrealistic fairy tale ending.

Sometimes, it’s the things you least expect that are in fact the largest of gems.

The story touched me in ways I couldn’t have foreseen. I cried on the bus and on my bed as I flipped through the pages. Although Emma had to create magic for herself, her life story was nothing BUT real. No one, other than terminally ill patients  (and their close ones) could fathom the reality of life coming to an end. Guilty as charged, I never put so much thought into it, until I read this book. That’s how realistic and authentic the author, Amanda Brooke, made her characters and their interactions. Perhaps her own experience losing a 3 year old son to cancer has largely to do with it.

Emma, along with real life people in her shoes (I think it’s safe to assume) come to value every moment they have left. Which is something we really take for granted. There’s now a thick line between what’s valuable and what isn’t. When your minutes are limited, your choices of things you keep and throw out in life become clear and obvious. People, passions, projects, lifestyle – even whether you should spend time treating your illness – are all things to re-assess.

I’m no expert in this, but I can say that this book did a number on me. My empathy towards terminally ill individuals and their family has grown manyfold. Equally, so did my gratitude for the time I have on this earth, being able to do and create things, and being around my loved ones. My priorities in life now possess a stronger stance. I also think twice before wasting time being indecisive (paradox?).

A big difference between Emma and a lot of us who aren’t terminally ill, is that she knows when the end is, while we don’t. But should that stop us from seeing the value in every minute of life? Does it take something big like this to realize how valuable time is ? I’m not going to spoil the story for those who want to read it (which I strongly recommend! It’s an easy 416 p. read!), but as things happened and remained, Emma and her close ones could only wish they had more time.

Some people wish for that extra minute, while some waste it knowing there will be another. (Or will there?). Whether we want to create a project, spend time doing things we love or with people we love, let’s do ourselves a huge favour and respect the time we’re given. Whatever our fate, it’s still going to run out.

About the author

Sandra-Uyen

An artist at heart and a perpetual student, I believe we all have the power to overcome our deepest fear and achieve our highest potential. Learning and sharing is a lifelong journey, so why not make it fun! Welcome fellow Dragonfly!

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