This ALA ARC, a book I've already read a few reviews of and that was hyped by the vendor rep at the booth, was one I hoped I might connect with. The subtitle is "A Novel of Firsts & Lasts." The set-up is that 17-year-old Maddie's dying grandmother takes her family on a final cruise to celebrate and end her life. With a premise like that, you assume there will be tears. Unfortunately for me it was hard to overcome the distance between Maddie's super, mega, monster rich grandmother's lifestyle and my own. It's like, of course you can have a beautiful death if you can afford to take your extended family on a customized 8-week world cruise with additional flights.
Maddie gets her period in the novel, twice, because most of the action takes place over two months. There are cramps, paranoia, and a lover being told he'll have to wait. Maddie also has Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and talks openly with a friend about IBS ruining her undies.
Portrayal of terminal patients' thoughts on death. There's a wall where they write (or dictate) their thoughts and plus one each others'.
It is humiliating that I need a nurse to write down my deepest thoughts because my fucking hands died before the rest of me.
You would think the pain would be the worst part. But for me, it's the diaper channges.
Somebody wrote: LOL
The "me toos" are haunting to Maddie and to the reader.
Back to the dislikes, there are a lot of characters, and it's hard to keep track of who's who. The wealth issue is also embodied in the privilege of individuals' needs over those of the ecosystem in the global south. This happens near Rio (I think):
"He's writing letters to all five hundred thirty-one people he turned in, stuffing them into bottles, and throwing them into the sea."
"Isn't that polluting the ocean?" Janie says.
"Oh, come on, let the man be. He's not asking to snorkel or see volcanoes. He just wants to find a little peace by honoring those five hundred thirty-one souls. That's his only wish," Dad says.
Despite my dis-ease with much of the book, I'd sure like to have the option to take a death cruise with my loved ones when I'm ready to kick.