Jane Green‘s new book, Promises to Keep, should come with a huge warning: Have a box of Kleenex nearby when reading.
I didn’t pay much attention to the book description when I requested the book from my local library. Shortly into the book it became clear that this book was going to be different from Green’s previous books. Jane Green is one of the authors that helped define ‘chick lit’. Imagine my surprise that instead of the light, fluffy escapist read I was expecting, I got a book about a woman dealing with cancer diagnosis leaving her with less than a year to live.
Callie has the perfect life. She’s married to the perfect husband, has two adorable children and a career as a photographer. Her sister, Steffi, is a bit of a free spirit. She lives with a guy in a band that she doesn’t particularly love and works by day as a vegan chef in a tiny neighborhood restaurant. Callie’s best friend recently moved to Connecticut and recently found Mr. Right but he comes with some baggage, a horrid ex-wife and a wonderful son.
Green spends the first part of the book building up how Callie is living the perfect life. You just know that something horrible is going to happen. So when she blacks out and is in a car accident and later finds out her cancer is back it comes as no surprise. The rest of the book is spent on how her friends and family rally around her to support her during her last days. It also focuses on the changes that they make in their life as a result of her battle. The message that life is too short and you need to spend time doing things that are important comes across. Make time and spend it with your children. Be with the right person. Set aside your differences.
What I liked about this book is that it was a bit of a departure from Green’s previous books. Obviously this is personal to her as she dedicates it to her good friend who lost her battle to cancer. I loved the line Love is actually a verb. You need to show your love by actions and they don’t need to be grandiose. Little things are important too.
So while the book is completely predictable, it was a good read. Just remember to have the tissues near.