There’s no getting away from the fact that we’re all going to die some day. However it happens, we leave behind something of ourselves. This is a book that acknowledges the fact that, sometimes, we want to be able to control our last moments-whether it’s to preserve our dignity, or to minimise the suffering of loved ones.
When the novel opens, Maddie is preparing to go off to college. She is called to a family dinner where her beloved grandma announces she has pancreatic cancer and has booked for the family to spend the summer on a cruise. Only this cruise is all about those on board being allowed to choose their moment to die.
This could have been quite morose given the subject matter, but Firestone works hard to create vibrant characters whose joy of life allows them to focus on what positives remain.
While grandma could be seen as very manipulative, it definitely seems that she is engineering situations for those around her to find the strength to come to accept her leaving. The image of Maddie and Enzo surrounded by phosphorescence when they are kayaking will stay with me for some time, and I don’t think I’ll be able to look at a snow globe without thinking of this novel.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me access to this before publication.