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Twelve Months
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Twelve Months by Steven Manchester is a novel about living. Don is diagnosed with stage four cancer and is given a year to live. So he lives. The book follows his journey through a bucket list and back to his family's side.

I definitely teared up at the end. But I'm having trouble voicing my opinion on this one. It was a lot of telling, but in a way that is different from the norm. I didn't feel like I was being chastised or lectured. I felt like I was getting to witness someone else's experience, but it felt so perfect that I couldn't really believe it. I wasn't emotionally involved except that the writing pulled emotions from me.

The writing was great. It was poetic at times and portrayed daily life in a beautiful manner. I didn't necessarily love any of the characters, but I certainly loved the prose. Perhaps it's better that way because you are allowed to be a bit numb while reading about someone dying. It wasn't gruesome, and it seemed that Don (though it was first person) hid a lot of his pain and feelings from his family and the reader.

I liked it, but as with any controversial book, I'm torn. It's hard to get a message like this one across smoothly. It has some great messages, some real gems, but they were too obvious for me. I will recommend this one for the writing alone, as that hooked me.

I received this book from the author for review.
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
I first met Steven Manchester through his book, Pressed Pennies! (Check out my review). I still remember the book's title and it brings the book to mind. Titles are important, but they don't necessarily guide you in knowing what a book will be about. Indeed, I thought Twelve Months was a thriller. And, you know what, in many ways it is! Just not the type of thriller I'd expected...

His name is Don DiMarco, but it could have just as easily been...yours! At my age, it was easy to put myself in Don's place. My mother had lived with me during her last years and I had oftened sat and watched her chest to ensure she was still breathing...just as I now watch for signs in my own life... But Don was not my age. He had retired early, at 57, to spend time with his loved ones. He was also like me in that, we are both thinkers--those that spend time on reflection, our lives, our relationships. Are you like that?

Maybe not now. But what if you were given 12 months to live?

That's right, Don's doctors told him to "get his affairs in order" and they would do the best they could to make it easy for him...

I was still working at 57, although I did retire early due to Job Burnout. But, I wasn't even thinking about death at that time. Don hadn't been either. And I'm assuming you haven't either...

Don DiMarco did not immediately start to get his affairs in order. He began a celebration--a year of celebration for him and his family. A joyful, loving time of togetherness! Readers, you've just got to read about that year!

You may have seen The Bucket List several years ago and even created your own bucket list--things you want to do before you die. The movie was a comedy and with the two characters, I am sure anybody who saw it would have enjoyed it...laughed, had fun...

But, you see, when you read a book, you are not just seeing the list of things being done. You see and read about what the main character is thinking--you feel his pain, you know when he sets it aside to go on sharing with his grandchildren, craving each and every minute that he still has to give them precious memories and show how much he loved them...

You learn about how Don's family felt, what and how they responded, and how they showed Don their love...

Yes, Don had a list of things he'd always wanted to do...some were fun things, some were to create memories. It was only his wife, in the privacy of their moments together than Don allowed her to share in how badly he was hurting, how quickly deterioration was occurring.

There may be other books out there about death and dying. But I have never had the privilege of sharing a loved one's death. Even my mother thankfully died in her sleep, having had the Lord take her with no pain. But that doesn't happen to everybody. Your family's medical history may allow you to mentally think through what might happen. But Manchester's novel takes us to the time and place where death is imminent for Don DiMarco and his family...

You will experience his fear, his pain, his regret--but, so much more, you will experience the ability each of us will have--to joyfully celebrate those final days, months, or years, knowing that we can face death head on--and make it bow down to what we are willing to do during those days. Plan right now to celebrate with your loved ones as death calls... Read Twelve Months by Steven Manchester and learn what is possible... Yes, I said "learn" because for many of us, we live each day not thinking about anything but getting through that day. Manchester has a special gift, in addition to his wonderful writing, in being able to take us into the intimate moments that occur in our lives. He forces us to realize that there are alternatives to giving in to pain, for instance--to choose life up to the very moment of death!

Memorable, obviously, but unforgettable in its potential for each of us. A thriller? You bet! The thrill of experiencing your own 12 months... I pray that each reader will take the opportunity I've had. Thank you Steven Manchester for writing this book...

GABixlerReviews
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Move over, Nicholas Sparks! Steven Manchester's "Twelve Month"s is a book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page. This is not a book to borrow from the library - it is a book to own and treasure and read again and again. Its story offers the reader a precious peek into heaven and will make you want to live better and love more. Steven Manchester is my new favorite author!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Typically I enjoy reading stories I can relate to. However Mr. Manchester's Twelve Months has been an exception. A story of an older man facing his short life after receiving horrible news of Cancer is a story that will touch everyone who reads it. This novel is realistic... a story about life, family, the bond between two truly in love, living in the moment, and realizing what is truly important. Twelve Months has touched me greatly as I cried throughout the book. With fun childhood stories, romance in finding one's true love, and the journey of life, that we all ultimately face, the life of Don will certainly not be forgotten once read. I highly recommend this story to people of all ages that are looking for a good read.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Good Lord, I expected this story to be somewhat sappy, but there was enough saccharine to flavor a swimming pool of Tab. Also, there was no plot to speak of, just a check-the-box bucket list and too much maudlin sentimentality. I expect the movie version to be on the Hallmark channel next year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Review:

If you are looking for a timely novel that's full of emotion and meaning, Steven Manchester's Twelve Months should be on your short-list. Like most of us, Don DiMarco could have spent more time with his daughter and grandchildren, doted on his wife, traveled the world, or started checking things off his "bucket list" - but instead, he treated every new day as "just another day", not realizing how little time he really had left. Most of us are guilty of taking things for granted, especially when it comes to family, friends and time. No one knows how much time they have left, but many of us live under the assumption that we have "all the time in the world"; not so, as Don soon realizes. For many readers, this book will be a wake-up call. No one wants the "would of", "should of", "could of" regrets that come with taking life for granted, and they definitely do not want to try to fit their misplaced appreciation and unlived dreams into the last bit of time they have left. Don is a very interesting character, his original strengths and flaws are apparent, but very reader relatable. I enjoyed his progression from beginning to end, particularly his relationship with his wife and daughter. He emotionally matured more in twelve months than some people do in a lifetime. The scenario and dialogue were realistic and highly emotional, there were a few sections where I found myself tearing-up, and others where I could not stop smiling. I really liked Steven Manchester's poetic writing style and ability to construct such a vivid, exciting, and impassioned story-line full of heartbreak, inspiration, hope, love, and faith. I also liked the first person narration, as well as the overall flow of the novel. I had a difficult time putting this book down once I started it, and I was quite moved by Don's story. The tagline has it right. Highly recommended for all readers.

Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
When I began reading the book TWELVE MONTHS by Steven Manchester I was caught in the storyline from the very beginning. To see how Don DiMarco was able to deal with the diagnosis he was given and not allow it to define him showed what all of us can do with the life we live.

One of the most powerful parts of the book was when Don and his wife sat down with the family to tell them the prognosis. Don being able to say that he was going to live life showed that he was not going to allow circumstances to define him. He was going to make the most of his life regardless of what was coming his way.

There are so many great lessons in this book, but I want to focus on two: faith and the power of one. All of us have the ability to do great things with the time we have here. It is all about making the decision that we are going to live each day to the fullest and not allow the limitations others might try to put on us deter us from moving forward.

When it comes to realizing what he could do and how his life could really be of value to others, Don was able to use his time in such a way that was not just about him. He got the bigger picture, and that is what he was able to share with his family and those around him as well.

Steven Manchester is a storyteller that is not only able to draw you into the characters and their conflict but helps you to see pieces of yourself as well. Realistic and powerful, TWELVE MONTHS shows the importance of living each day as if it is your last.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read part of this book as a kindle sampler. I think the reviewer who wrote" move over Nicholas Sparks" pretty much summed it up for me. This is the type of book that some people love and others can't stand. Sentimental, simplistic,"inspirational" ....boring!

It seems to be aimed at the same audience that ate up the whole Randy Pausch last lecture phenomenon. If that is your thing, you may love this book. I'm just sad that this was the first thing I downloaded onto my Kindle. It was the first thing I deleted as well. I guess I should be happy I only downloaded the sampler.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I haven't finished the book yet but... wow. What a wonderful story. It's about love, living life to its fullest, and just going for it. I absolutely love this story and would love to see it on the best sellers list (top 10). I love my life but if I had 12 months, what would I do? And what am I waiting for? This book is worth your time reading. I want to read more but I don't want it to end too quickly. I don't often gift books but I might have to gift this a few loved ones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Steven Manchester has authored such successful novels as `The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy' and many short stories that deal with one man's view of the universe in a lighter tone. But here, in this very well written novel TWELVE MONTHS, he has managed to bridge that nearly impossible gap of making a story about a life that is finite into a work that is never maudlin, ever positive, and allows the reader to accompany him on his character's encounters with `the bucket list' concept in a fashion far more successful than other writers have tried.

Don DiMarco seems to have it all - a loving family, physical comforts, rewarding hobbies and pastimes. Almost by serendipity he notices some subtle changes in this body habits that, with the encouragement of his wife Bella, leads him to seek medical advice - and here is where Manchester takes the lead in books of this type. Don is informed that he has stage four metastatic carcinoma of the colon, untreatable, and from there the mind and life of Don DiMarco changes. His mindset is on making every moment of his remaining time with his wife and family and friends and his communion with nature and the pages of this book are filled with the positive aspects of living every moment as though it were your last.

There are many self help books about facing death, the process of grieving, how to deal with the finality of existence, etc on the shelves and many are very fine, but most of them fail to bring the facts of the ending of life into a story to which all of us can relate. Manchester supplies such a story, and after reading this book, the subtitle of the book - `Your life is always ready to begin' - makes glorious sense. Grady Harp, August 12
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