This review is published on Reedsy/Discovery.
This is a moving story of two lives that intertwine. Paula Hamilton is a 27-year-old high school English teacher who discovers she has a brain tumor. Daniel Swift is a 15-year-old student in her class, bullied by boys and a stone-cold guidance counselor. Poignantly, Paula and Daniel are each other’s saviors.
The author’s distinctive style of telling two tales, each in the first person, is compelling. The stories unfold in parallel, from Paula as she copes with her diagnosis and Daniel in the form of a blog. Their individual sagas and how they overlap are captivating.
Paula’s bucket list includes travel to Africa and singing in a band. She has the good fortune to fulfill both objectives but not without discord. Through these stories, the author provides a deeper understanding of Paula’s core, which contributes to her innate ability to channel tragedy and conflict to discover the truth and enrich the lives of others.
Daniel’s plight touches Paula’s heart, and she becomes his lifeline. Her life-changing experience in Africa enables her to give him a perspective that helps him move forward. Daniel’s achievements deepen Paula’s understanding of how teaching is not just what she does but who she is.
There were times when the book seemed a bit long with some background events left unfinished, but the author’s handling of difficult subjects is uniquely fascinating. I highly recommend this book as a heartwarming tear-jerker that delivers eloquent messages of death, survival, love, fear and dignity.