So Much for That
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From the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World comes a searing, ruthlessly honest new novel about a marriage both stressed and strengthened by the demands of serious illness.
Shep Knacker has long saved for "The Afterlife": an idyllic retreat to the Third World where his nest egg can last forever. Traffic jams on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will be replaced with "talking, thinking, seeing, and being"—and enough sleep. When he sells his home repair business for a cool million dollars, his dream finally seems within reach. Yet Glynis, his wife of twenty-six years, has concocted endless excuses why it's never the right time to go. Weary of working as a peon for the jerk who bought his company, Shep announces he's leaving for a Tanzanian island, with or without her.
Just returned from a doctor's appointment, Glynis has some news of her own: Shep can't go anywhere because she desperately needs his health insurance. But their policy only partially covers the staggering bills for her treatments, and Shep's nest egg for The Afterlife soon cracks under the strain.
Enriched with three medical subplots that also explore the human costs of American health care, So Much for That follows the profound transformation of a marriage, for which grave illness proves an unexpected opportunity for tenderness, renewed intimacy, and dry humor. In defiance of her dark subject matter, Shriver writes a page-turner that presses the question: How much is one life worth?
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
Timely topic, brilliant writing
Shriver dishes up timely novel tackling the ever-rising costs of healthcare that can easily wipe out a life's savings even of the comfortable. All this is presented in an eminently readable package where the main characters, two couples with their respective kids, pretty much cover the spectrum of opinions. What made this book special for me was not only the story itself, about people's lifelong dreams dashed (but not quite) by illness and how they cope with it all, but Shriver's brilliant writing that is simply a treat.
Could not finish this book
I never became attached to the chracaters and could not wait to be done with this book. I ended up skimming it and never felt compelled to really delve into it. Mind you, this was after reading easily one third of the book before caving in. Then, having read the last few chapters, what happens with all these characters made me even angrier. Totally implausible and ridiculous. If you are looking for an engaging novel which thoughtfully addresses the issues we face as a society regarding making a marriage work and the travesty that is our health care system, keep looking.