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Life and Other Near-Death Experiences Paperback – November 1, 2015
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When Libby Miller receives a shocking cancer diagnosis from a less-than-empathetic doctor, she thinks it’s the worst thing that could happen to her. Having watched her mother slowly and agonizingly lose her own battle with cancer, Libby is determined that she will not put her family through a similar experience. She decides to forego treatment and is about to break the news to her husband, but before she can, he delivers astonishing news of his own. With no marriage to speak of and only months remaining, Libby decides to live like there’s no tomorrow. Telling no one of her plans, she escapes to the equatorial sun of Vieques, a small island near Puerto Rico. But will her resolve withstand the concern of her twin brother, the friendship of her island landlady, and the growing love of a handsome Puerto Rican pilot? Instead of doom and gloom, Libby’s journey is one of hilarious turns and heartfelt realizations. Though unrealistic, it is just the uplifting medicine some doctors would order. —Cortney Ophoff
“More than just a cancer narrative, Life and Other Near Death Experiences is a story about seizing life and ditching what others expect of you. It will make you laugh. It will make you ugly cry. And it will make you want to live your own life to its greatest potential.” —HelloGiggles
“Camille Pagan's Life and Other Near-Death Experiences is anything but formulaic: it's unceasingly delightful, and Libby Miller is a sensitive, super-smart Everywoman hero you'll come to adore.” —Bustle
“Tackling two serious topics with grace and humor, Ms. Pagan has delivered a novel full of rich characters and a quick-paced story line...This story is an easy read about uneasy topics, something hard to accomplish but that Ms. Pagan does wonderfully.” —Manhattan Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
It was well written and well edited. Witty humor was interjected throughout, and while centered around a deep subject, the book was light and yes, maybe a bit fluffy. I felt that the main characters were well developed and part of what kept me hooked was that I cared about Libby and wanted to see what happened to her. I appreciate that this was a "clean" book - no swearing, no explicit sex scenes, but I would have liked Libby's first love scene to have been slightly more detailed. At only a sentence or two long, at first I wasn't sure if it was something that had actually happened.
I disagree with what one reviewer said about everything being neatly tied up in a bow at the end. Not everything with Libby was tied up at the end of the book -which I found surprisingly unpredictable. Yes, there was a happy ending of course - and I would not have wanted it any other way.
(Getting an early release copy through Prime is in no way tied to a promise of writing a review.)
I could not give the book more than 3 stars for one major reason. The main character is just not likable. We have to be reminded several times that she used to be an unwavering optimist, and all sunshine and unicorns, but we don't see any of that part of her personality here. In fact, what we see is a woman who is selfish, spiteful, and lies to her loved ones over and over again. Sure, she's had a couple of terrible recent shocks and a rough childhood, and certainly most people would have reason to react badly at first, but she continues this behavior throughout the book. To me, the way she treated her husband was absolutely unforgivable. I had a hard time understanding why the supporting characters in this book coddled her and loved her so much and let her get away with how she was acting. She seems to blame everything in her life on either her husband or an incident that happened to her in childhood, which although very sad, is a poor excuse for behavior at 35 years of age.
Also the Epilogue was ... well let me just say that I had to put the book down and say "Oh give me a break."
As I said, I liked the story in general, and clearly the author can make characters likable, as she did with a couple of the supporting characters. However, I think it could, and should, have been written in a way that would help the readers feel some empathy for her, and sadly that is not the case in my opinion.
So with that said please see my review below.
this novel like Pagan's others centers around a traumatic event that makes you question the decisions you have made for life and the need for changes and the hope for second chances. On the day Libby finds out she has cancer she also finds out that her marriage is over. I found her relationship with Tom was something for her to hold on to the good in what was otherwise a traumatic childhood. I think she made her marriage into the great love story because that's what she wanted and that's why it was easier for her to walk away. I found Tom to be selfish and a little one dimensional but I do believe that this was the author's intent as he was such a big part of her life for so long and now she needed to make her own clarity.
Parts of this novel were hard for me to read. I felt that the author handled these situations with grace and delicacy and the knowledge that some of her readers have had these same experiences.
Above all else this novel had a feeling of hope. A feeling of second chances.
This novel has been optioned for a film and I feel it will play out well on the screen. I enjoyed it.
If I was to compare this novel to her other two, I would say that the main character had a stronger voice than in her first novel and there was emotional growth.
Camille Pagan continues to grow as a writer and I love being a reader along for the ride!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hooks you quickly and reads even faster.
Written and edited with refreshing professionalism.