I read ‘Missing Pieces’ by Laura Pearson a while ago and really enjoyed it – so when I was offered the chance to read an advance review copy of Ms Pearson’s most recent book, I accepted it immediately.
Since reading Missing Pieces I have followed Laura on Twitter – and so knew she’d been through a breast cancer diagnosis whilst pregnant with her second child. That personal experience has clearly been the driving force for this book.
Here’s the blurb:
“Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.
Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.
Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.
From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a true love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.”
This book is absolutely, brutally, brilliant.
I cried A LOT reading it – and Laura doesn’t shy away from the shittiness of breast cancer at all – but it’s not all doom and gloom. The relationships between Jess and her daughter / mother / best friend / father / ex boyfriend / best mate’s brother are all explored beautifully.
I guess I empathised most with Jess’s BFF Gemma. One of my best friends had her own breast cancer journey a couple of years ago – and I was the one trying to be a supportive friend. Admittedly I didn’t have to take care of a newborn like Gemma does in the book – but we did borrow her son as our 5th child for a week to take him away for half term. It’s the balance of trying to keep things ‘normal’ whilst still recognising that things are never going to be normal ever again. The letters Jess writes to Edie also made me really emotional – as there were many things my friend was scared she wouldn’t see – her daughter smashing her GCSEs and A-levels and turning 18, her son going to his Middle School prom and starting High School – all the type of things Jess addresses in her letters to her daughter who isn’t even a year old at the time.
Just like ‘Missing Pieces’ a dysfunctional family is central to the storyline – and written about so well – and you could totally empathise with lots of the characters (and want to punch others).
This is not a fun, easy, light hearted read – it really does make you think about being grateful for what you have RIGHT NOW – and speaking up for that, telling people what you think – and not waiting until it’s too late – or almost too late.
Whilst it made me do big snotty crying, I still really enjoyed this book – and a huge thank you to Netgalley for my ARC. I know there will be people where this is a bit too close to home – and I’m not sure whether it would be a good or bad thing for someone in a similar circumstance to read it.
Most of all, and very selfishly, I’m bloody chuffed that my friend didn’t have to write letters to her children like Jess did………