Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagán

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagán
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (262 pgs)
Rated: 4.5 stars
Review by Poppy

Libby Miller has always been an unwavering optimist—but when her husband drops a bomb on their marriage the same day a doctor delivers devastating news, she realizes her rose-colored glasses have actually been blinding her.

With nothing left to lose, she abandons her life in Chicago for the clear waters and bright beaches of the Caribbean for what might be her last hurrah. Despite her new sunny locale, her plans go awry when she finds that she can’t quite outrun the past or bring herself to face an unknowable future. Every day of tropical bliss may be an invitation to disaster, but with her twin brother on her trail and a new relationship on the horizon, Libby is determined to forget about fate. Will she risk it all to live—and love—a little longer?

From critically acclaimed author Camille Pagán comes a hilarious and hopeful story about a woman choosing between a “perfect” life and actually living.

Alternately exceptionally deep and heart-rending and absolutely hysterical, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences was nothing like I expected and completely enjoyable.

From the first page, I was both chuckling at Libby’s attitude and heart-broken at the way her life was crumbling around her. She has the kind of snarky, internal (and sometimes external) humor that I absolutely enjoy. Despite her world falling apart, she moves forward and makes choices and does what needs doing. Sometimes I questioned her choices, but not having walked in her shoes, how would I know what the “right” way to behave would be.

The author has a descriptive but breezy style that’s so easy to read. While this isn’t my typical genre, I’m glad I grabbed it. It was both edifying and uplifting and so very interesting. Parts were a little draggy, but mostly I zipped right through the book. From Chicago to the tropics, I was right there with our heroine as she went from giving up and deciding to die, to learning how to live and love again. It was an incredible journey that sometimes left me breathless and ultimately left me moved. I’m glad I decided to pick it up and recommend it to any reader who enjoys a book both meaningful and completely entertaining.

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