DYING TO LIVE YOUR LIFE’s author Lisbeth Mackall takes the reader on her journey from breast cancer diagnosis through her year of chemo and recovery.
Although the text in the book is divided into chapters, they aren’t distinct in terms of theme or content. Instead, each chapter covers one month of the author’s experiences and ends with direct messages to readers who followed along over the course of the year.
The chronological order has strengths and weaknesses, in that the reader gets a sense of the progression of the cancer treatment, but the brief entries are what makes the book feel more like a collection of blog entries than a book with a story arc. With little material aimed at the reader with advice on “how to live your best life,” DYING TO LIVE YOUR LIFE is best considered a collection of inspirational blog posts with a fantastic title.
Readers who have shared Mackall’s journey, either directly or indirectly, will find her experience relatable. She puts to ink many of the thoughts that people have as they traverse the scary landscape of cancer treatment. From surgery day to chemo days, through feelings of powerlessness to feelings of hope, the reader gets a strong sense of what it can be like to live through breast cancer treatment.
However, the story tends to be imbalanced on the side of personal experience and doesn’t delve as deeply into the question posed by the subtitle: “Why does it take facing death to live your best life?” It would also be interesting if the author had explored the answers to that question, and perhaps consolidated some of the personal anecdotes as support to those ideas. Stories of others who’ve come through near-death experiences and changed their lives (including more on her husband, who survived a near fatal officer-involved car crash), research on the mental shifts that occur after one faces death, and other topics would be useful to explore.
DYING TO LIVE YOUR LIFE is a blend of personal memoir and self-help that, while in parts inspirational, read more like a collection of blog posts than a traditional memoir or self-help book.
~Traci Shoblom for IndieReader