Saturday, February 05, 2011

207 (2011 #12). Expiration Date

by Sherril Jaffe

I REALLY liked this book.  For one thing, I LOVE the cover!  Click on it to see a larger version and read what's on the baby's bottom.

The blurb for this novel really intrigued me.  Protagonist Flora has a dream at age 35 that a heavenly court has set her expiration date - the date of her death - for 25 years later, the year she turns 60.  Fast-forward 24 years, to 2004, and Flora wonders if the dream might come true.  Thing is, her mother Muriel was present at the heavenly court with other family members who have since passed on - and Muriel is very much alive at age 86.  Perhaps this means Flora's dream won't become a reality just yet.

This may sound like a morbid subject for a book, but it's not.  The book is quite funny and very thought-provoking.

The story moves back and forth between Flora and Muriel.  Muriel is recently widowed and trying to adjust, trying to decide what needs to change (where she lives?) and what can change, now that she is not tied down at home caring for her invalid husband.  She hates (fears?) being alone and lonely.  Flora has a good life, a loving rabbi husband with whom she shares an interest in Zen Buddhism, great sex and heartfelt discussions.  Her concerns about her dream come across more as the natural fears and concerns about death (that increase as we age), rather than as some morbid preoccupation.

Muriel and Flora are both extremely likable characters.  At age 53 myself, with an 82-year-old mother, I could really relate to this book.  I can only hope to be as truly alive as these two women are at their respective ages.  There's much to think about here, in living one's life to the fullest.

This is a book that I will encourage my friends to read, and will re-read periodically myself.

© Amanda Pape - 2011

[This advanced reader edition was sent to me by the publisher and will be passed on to someone else.] 

No comments:

Post a Comment