Five Days Left

  • by Julie Lawson Timmer
  • Narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Kirby Heyborne
  • 12 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Mara Nichols, a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and adoptive mother, has recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Scott Coffman, a middle school teacher, has been fostering an eight-year-old boy while the boy’s mother serves a jail sentence. Scott and Mara both have five days left until they must say good-bye to the ones they love the most.
Through their stories, Julie Lawson Timmer explores the individual limits of human endurance, the power of relationships, and that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Perhaps My Expectations Were Too High

I am ambivalent about this book. It covers a very ambitious topic, walking a person through the last 5 days of their life, all the while knowing they will commit suicide on that 5th day. I am not giving anything away by saying this. You know that is the main characters intent from the very beginning. I think one of my problems with the book is the quality of the writing was not up to the meat of the topic. This is Ms. Timmer's debut book and while there are some moments of great storytelling, I think I would have suggested to the author that she get a couple of other books on lighter topics under her belt, before she tackled this one.

Other readers have suggested that the second story line, about a teacher who is going to lose his much loved foster son in five days, was superfluous and detracted from the main story line. But I actually thought that this storyline was better written and more fleshed out than the primary story line. My only issue with this is we need to all accept that text messages sound silly and infantile when read out loud. No one talks that way and it is jarring to hear it. And the teacher seemed a little too sincere.

In the main story line I found the information about Huntington's disease morbidly interesting. I knew about the disease and it's impact on families' lives, but never thought about what it would be like to be an adopted child who is diagnosed with the disease out of the blue. To a degree, families with Huntington's live their lives waiting for the shoe to drop. It is no more tragic, but certainly more shocking if you did not grow up knowing what might be in your future. The detailed explanation of what the test scores mean was new to me. And certainly made the condition more frightening.

My issue with the main story line was the amount of introspection and second guessing the main character was still going through. I do not like books that spend so much time inside a characters head. I would rather they were developed by letting the reader understand them through their interactions with other characters and the world in general. I have no idea how it would feel to live with this terrible sword hanging over you, but by the time we meet the character, she has known about the disease for a long time, has suffered from its effects for several years and has planned her suicide for months, if not years and has everything she needs to carry it out in place and ready to go. I am sure that someone that determined to die would still have second thoughts, would still have moments of doubt up to the last moment. But we were down to the last five days, and while she made lists about everything she still needed to accomplish, instead of resolving the issues on the list, there was just more introspection. There were ties she had to sever, the goodbyes that needed to be made and the closure she needed to give. There was some of this, but far more of the book was focused on her internal dialog of doubts. I was more interested in how she would say goodbye to her spouse and parents, without revealing the truth. But that was glossed over.

However, there were moments when the book shined, and moments that were so real I had to remind myself that this was fiction. I was upset at the end that she left her online support group, people she was supposedly very close to, in the dark, with no way to know why she disappeared. It seemed very cold and out of character. That is when I had to remind myself this was just a book.

I probably would rate this book slightly higher, if not for all of the hype it received. By the time I read it the praise was overwhelming and my expectations were high. But they were not met.
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- Lulu "I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater."

On My Personal Top 50 Of All Time

Chose this book randomly. Was looking for something about Huntington's Disease and boy oh boy did I find a gem...this gem!

This book is two stories about 'goodbyes'. Julie Lawson Timmer is a wondeful author. She takes us, her readers on two quite diverse journeys. One story will make you weep but you will be joining his 'cheer leading' squad. The second story is romantic, joyful, devastating.

I have no intention of saying more about this wonderful book as I cried an ocean during and after reading it. As we have HD in my family it is very close to my heart so I may not be as objective as I could be but as an avid reader I adored every single word written by Julie Lawson Timmer and so beautifully performed by Rebecca Lowman and Kirby Heyborne.

Maybe not for everyone but definitely for me.
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- Julia "British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-09-2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio