Saturday, 15 February 2014

Review ~ What’s Left of Me by Amanda Maxlyn

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 Stars

“I don’t even feel like I’m a woman anymore. I look in the mirror, and all I see is this skinny, pale, empty, hairless body that has become unrecognizable. If everything that represents who I am is gone, then what’s left of me?”

This is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time! Everyone who knows me, knows that I am an emotional sap and I do cry…often, but this one had me in a complete and utter mess, I was destroyed, red puffy eyes, empty tear ducts, hiccups and guttural sobbing all whilst my husband slept…yes he slept through!!

This book does tackle the “big C,” yes it is emotional, yes it is powerful, yes it is angsty, yes it is heart breaking, but it is beautifully written and takes you on one gut wrenching, awe inspiring journey. Amanda Maxlyn had me glued to this book from the first page, I could not put it down. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the writing…the epilogue…is just that…the FREAKIN MOTHER OF ALL EPILOGUES…yes that is shouty caps! This book had it all, I was in the mood for a sob fest and that is exactly what I got and I devoured it…I looked awful, but hell I was willing!

Aundrea has been dealt a crap hand of cards, she was 17 when she was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she had beaten it once but now at the age of 21 it was time to beat it again. It was just before her course of treatment was to begin that her friends made her go out for the evening, they dressed her up and took her clubbing. She let her hair down, had a drink, had a dance and pulled…she pulled one gorgeous man called Parker…deciding to go with the flow and go against all her morals and her usual behaviour she goes back to his and has what she thinks is a one night stand…only Parker has other ideas!

“I was meant to meet Parker. He brings out the best in me. He brings out the life in me.”

The trouble is with suffering with cancer, you feel like a burden, you don’t want the pity, you want to be normal and treated just like everyone else, you don’t want to have to rely on those around you for the most menial, mundane things, but sometimes, just sometimes you have to let go and take the help and the moral support you can get and this is what Aundrea finds hard. Thank god Parker has staying power, he was determined to get the girl and wanted to fight for what he thought was his, Aundrea had touched him that night and it soon became apparent that these two were meant for each other. Now we just needed Aundrea to take that leap of faith and let Parker in.

“I hate people taking care of me. I hate feeling helpless. I hate feeling lifeless…and as much as my muscles ache, and as exhausted as I am…I refuse to give in. I refuse to back down. I refuse to submit. I refuse to cry.”

Aundrea though was thriving on him not knowing, she loved the fact that he treated her just like a normal person, there was no sadness, there was no pity, it was just Aundrea and Parker, Parker and Aundrea, but the trouble was, with each page you read you knew that the ball was going to get dropped and you were forever wondering what the aftermath was going to be.

It pained me to read the lengths that Aundrea was going to, to keep the truth from Parker. It broke my heart. I just wanted her to open up and let him in. I had faith in Parker, from the get go I had a feeling that he was different, I knew that he would understand and I was willing Aundrea to just TELL HIM!! Aundrea was such a strong character though, she was tough and she was resilient and she had her “outside” face, full of bravado, but on the inside she was still this frightened girl that would cry herself to sleep at night and it pained me to read.

This is one awe inspiring story though, through Aundrea I gained even more respect for those that suffer and beat cancer, you can never truly appreciate just what people go through, but through Aundrea’s eyes, I felt it and lived it. It is the sign of a great author if you can live and breathe a story and I did just that with this book. I was there with Aundrea every step of the way and as I said above, it hurt.

“Someone once told me that it’s not about whether there is life after you die, but whether you’re alive before you die. I didn’t believe I could ever feel alive again. Not until Parker.”

Parker, what can I say, he is just the best, he was totally and utterly adorable and truly perfect for Aundrea. He was there for her when she wanted, he didn’t pity, he didn’t coddle and mother her, but he was a vital support network that she never knew she needed. I wanted to hug him hard. Everyone needs a Parker!

“You’re scared, but just because you can’t see your future, doesn’t mean I can’t. I see it clearly because I can see mine.”

Amanda Maxlyn, you are a genius, this book is truly brilliant and breath taking and for a debut author I was mightily impressed. I lived and breathed this journey and for those few hours I was in another world, completely and utterly consumed in Aundrea and Parker’s story. It was a joy to read and as I said above, a story that will stay with me for a very long time. I cannot wait to see what comes next. Brilliant book, one click, you will not be disappointed.

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