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By Kaira Rouda
Publisher: Real You Publishing Group
Publication Date: May 1 2014
My Rating:5 Stars
Kaira Rouda did a superior job with an emotionally charged subject, handling it with delicacy and sensitivity.
A novel of a woman's loves, both past and present. Would highly recommend IN THE MIRROR to those families experiencing cancer, or other illnesses, as would be able to relate to the treatments, struggles, turmoil, and emotions.
When you look at the front cover of IN THE MIRROR, you see a woman looking in her rear view mirror, which hints the character would be looking back. The cover was very fitting for Jennifer’s look at her past life, as she approaches the ending of her present and future life.
While reading, IN THE MIRROR, my mom, 82, very fit and young-looking, was undergoing her first chemo treatment (mixture of eight pills a day, and chemo drip every two weeks), for colon and secondary liver cancer. While I was reading about this young mother and her daily struggles with cancer, and Ralph the other strong character, I was thinking how insightful and therapeutic to learn what is actually going on inside the cancer’s victim’s mind.
Jennifer is a young wife and mother, dying with an aggressive form of breast cancer. While in Shady Valley (hospice center) she is receiving therapy to help make her life as comfortable as possible, and develops a close strong friendship with another patient, Ralph. I loved their relationship as so endearing-- as they face their illness with a strong bond with intense mixture of love, pain, hurt, sarcasm, and humor.
The first part of the book is preparing and planning for a life party (before the funeral) to celebrate her life with her family and friends, as she grasps for every bit of life she can. Jennifer feels distant from her husband Henry, and her family. Her former boyfriend, Alex comes back into the picture and she gets swept away in this relationship, as it feels fresh and allows her to escape from her sad sick life. Henry does not accept this friendship, and Jennifer is torn with her feelings between her husband and her ex-boyfriend.
While she is fighting for a cure, trying to keep her business afloat, spending time with her family and kids, fighting with her sister, some other crazy family members, and maintain her sanity – her romantic relationship with Alex gets a little out of hand; however, changes the way Henry sees his sick wife.
Loved the funny quirky warnings as introduction for each chapter. The characters (Pastor Barker was full of inspiring words) were well developed, and was immediately drawn into the engaging bittersweet emotional story, as my mom was taken back to the hospital with heart issues on her third day of treatment, and is currently still in the hospital undergoing a number of tests to determine if her heart can take this strong toxic medication.
While at the hospital, reading this emotionally-packed story, found it quite comforting when dealing with intimate feelings, thought processes, and sadness with some really funny humorous lines, we need when trying to deal, or make sense of life’s curve balls.
This incredible book of hope and regret, demonstrates how patients sometimes feel more comfortable around friends or strangers, versus their family members. As like my mom, the main character tries to appear strong so as not to worry the family, and holds a lot of emotion inward. My dad also has stage one leukemia, complaining mom is spending more time alone with her thoughts in another room. We all are guilty of looking at an illness or the disease and forget the real person behind the disease.
IN THE MIRROR was an inspiring novel and realistic look at how important it is to the patient to feel good about oneself and develop independent strong relationships. This book has helped me with the way I approach her care with perspective, allowing her to spend more time talking about her childhood, teen years, and her earlier life -- the good memories and times, versus focusing on her current treatment and the future.
Looking forward to reading more from this author--have already purchased HERE, HOME, HOPE!
A special thank you to Real You Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.