Before I Die

I need to like a main character, and Tessa is difficult to like.  She is self centered, whiny, and aggressively pushes people away.  But who gets to say what you act like when you are dying?  And so you have to give Tessa a break – which would really piss her off because she doesn’t particularly like it when people treat her as if she is contagious, or pity her because she is dying – although she is not beyond playing the terminal cancer card.

Tessa has a list – have sex, take drugs, say yes, fall in love.  It isn’t an easy list to complete when you are dying.

So here is the thing – Before I Die – is a tear jerker but it isn’t Lurlene McDaniel.  Tessa isn’t sweet or saintly, and while the plot outline is typical McDaniel sick girl falls in love – it isn’t Ken and Barbie love.  Adam and Tessa have real, messy love with misunderstandings, and pain, and sex, and disappointments, and hand holding.

And little brother Cal is angry, funny, sad, and a typical boy.  And Mom is flawed, unable to get emotionally messy until it is almost too late. And Dad is just trying his best.  And Zoey, well she is a bit of an enigma, but then again it is all about Tessa, and Tessa doesn’t give her much of a chance because well, it is all about her, she needs Zoey to be a certain way.

I can’t say I was overwhelmed by this book, it isn’t sitting inside of me.  But in the end, I enjoyed (? funny word for a sad book) it.