|August 22, 2017||Posted by admin under Family, Fiction, Women|
Written by Victoria Redel
Published by Viking
Distributed by Penguin Random House Canada
Reviewed by Christa McGrath
Publication date: June 2017
A story about friendships and hardships, Before Everything follows the lives of five women as they face mortality. Lifelong friends (the “old friends”) Caroline, Ming, Helen, and Molly find themselves in a situation where no one ever wants to be – helping their dear friend, Anna, as she endures another cancer diagnosis and enters hospice care.
Through the lives of these five women, Redel covers just about every topic imaginable that women can face in their life time: friendships, boyfriends, jealousies, break-ups, secrets, abuse, marriage, kids, careers, aging, and illness. She also realistically portrays how each life event can conjure up feelings of love and happiness and fear and isolation. Each female lead character is very different and unique. Some are more likeable than others. But they all share a commonality — a lifelong friendship that has carried them through so many ups and downs. And it is through this sacred bond that Redel shares Anna’s illness and how her friends (both “old” and “new”) rally around her unconditionally to give all they can during her greatest time of need. While the book’s focus is on the old friends, the mergence of the newer friends does add a layer of controversy when each group seeks out their rightful place by Anna’s side.
This book is 272 pages with four main sections: Late March 2013, April 2013, Still April, and 2015. Each section is further divided into short chapters with headings and the story bounces back and forth between past and present according to each friend’s memories. To be honest, I didn’t quite catch on to some of the heading titles and found it a little hard to keep up with all the ‘bouncing’. But I am sure this is the nature of how the story must unfold so that readers can get a true appreciation about the depth of their friendships and love of their sisterhood.
Before Everything is a true celebration of women and their friendships. It is not a lighthearted read and the story will pull on your heartstrings. This was not an easy read for me. The topic was too close to home. But if you are up for a challenging topic, this book will not disappoint.
For more information about this book or to learn ho to get your own copy, visit the publisher’s website here.