One Last Thing Before I Go

  • Review
By – April 27, 2012

Drew Sil­ver is divorced and his estranged teenage daugh­ter, Casey, thinks so lit­tle of him that she con­fides in him about her ac­cidental preg­nan­cy sole­ly because she’s least wor­ried about let­ting him down. He spends his days col­lect­ing roy­al­ty checks from the one pop­u­lar song pro­duced by his for­mer band, The Bent Daisies, and hang­ing out by the pool at his musty apart­ment com­plex with oth­er divorced, dis­graced men. Sil­ver has all but lost the will to live until he finds out that he has a heart defect that will like­ly kill him if left untreat­ed by surgery. 

Con­front­ed with the pos­si­bil­i­ty of death, Sil­ver come to this sad real­iza­tion: his life isn’t worth sav­ing. So Sil­ver bold­ly decides against the surgery even as his rab­bi father, dot­ing moth­er, ex-wife, and even her doc­tor fiancé gath­er around him to in an effort to change his mind. As his ex-wife’s wed­ding draws near­er and Casey con­tin­ues to strug­gle with a dif­fi­cult choice, Sil­ver is sud­den­ly forced to come to terms with his con­tin­u­al fail­ings as a father, hus­band, and man. He decides, then, that instead of hav­ing the surgery and pro­long­ing his already mis­er­able life, he should refo­cus his efforts on liv­ing out the rest of his time to the fullest and becom­ing a bet­ter man to his daugh­ter, his ex-wife, and his family. 

While Sil­ver is cer­tain that his fam­i­ly would all be bet­ter off with­out him, his con­di­tion and his grap­ple with mor­tal­i­ty grad­u­al­ly allow him to recon­nect and com­mu­ni­cate with them in ways that were for­eign to him as a man who has always been a fail­ure in love. While this book is about death, there are incred­i­bly poignant moments that prove that this is also a book about life and how we mourn lost time and cope with the chang­ing forms of love. The end, which is a neat sur­prise, is com­plete­ly sat­is­fy­ing and, with­out giv­ing any­thing away, reaf­firms that what makes life worth liv­ing is sim­ply hav­ing the will to live.

Jack­ie Anza­root is a grad­u­ate of Brook­lyn Col­lege with degrees in Eng­lish and Lin­guis­tics. She has held intern­ships at Simon & Schus­ter and is cur­rent­ly intern­ing at the Jew­ish Book Council.

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