Book Review: The Milestone Tapes, Ashley Mackler-Paternostro (2012)

May 30th, 2014 3:27 pm by mad mags

The Long Goodbye

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaways program.)

Jenna Chamberland is tired of fighting. For the past three years, she’s battled the cancer growing inside her. A radical double mastectomy, chemo, radiation – none were enough to prevent the cancer from metastasizing, from traveling to her bones, her liver, her lungs and her brain. With the diagnosis of stage four cancer comes the promise of not if, but when: prolonging the battle will give Jenna a few extra months, at best; but there is no cure for the cancer riddling her body videos mit kodi downloaden.

Faced with the inevitable, Jenna decides to discontinue treatment and enjoy what little time she has left: Mothering her six-year-old daughter Mia, for half of whose brief life Jenna has been ill; preparing her husband and best friend Gabe for what lies ahead; and reconnecting with her sister Sophia, from whom she’s been estranged since the loss of their own mother to breast cancer more than two decades ago.

The first half of The Milestone Tapes (“Book One”) concerns Jenna’s “long goodbye.” With six months to live, Jenna aims to make the most of them. She celebrates a seemingly endless parade of “lasts” with her family: her last excursion to a favorite vacation spot with Gabe; the last of Mia’s birthdays that they will celebrate together; the last Christmas she’s able to spoil the ones she loves Age of empire free download.

Finally, and for a brief moment, Jenna is able to be the mother she’s always yearned to be. Mia was only three when Jenna’s doctor handed down the diagnosis of stage three breast cancer. In Mia’s short memory, Mommy is a woman who spends most of her time confined to bed while “aunt” Ginny bathes, feeds, comforts, and scolds her. While grateful for the help, Jenna can’t help but feel jealous – jealous that another woman has raised her daughter, and so well. The long goodbye is a chance to reclaim this title, if only for a little while herunterladen.

Inspired by a fellow support group member, Jenna decides to record a series of tapes – the titular milestone tapes – so that she can continue to mother Mia, even in death. Becoming a Mother, Father Getting Remarried, College Graduation, First Love, Wedding day, High School Graduation, First Broken Heart, Leaving Home, First Time, Cancer: ten (potential) milestones, ten corresponding tapes. “You raise your children to fly, Elizabeth had said, but a mother’s work, even in death, is never really done, Susanna whispered from behind.”

Fast forward nine years herunterladen. Book Two is about Mia, now sixteen years old, and her discovery of the milestone tapes. As she falls in love for the first time (and subsequently suffers the inevitable broken heart), becomes acquainted with Gabe’s new girlfriend Kris (the only one he’s deemed important enough to even mention to Mia), moves away from her mother’s dream home in Port Angeles to join Gabe and Kris in Seattle, and (eventually) becomes a wife and mother herself, Mia devours Jenna’s gifts with eager and bittersweet anticipation.

Touching and a not little sentimental, The Milestone Tapes is about as depressing as you’d expect, but with moments of sweetness and humor. I’m not afraid to admit that certain passages had me bawling like a baby.

But the book isn’t without its flaws:

  • Early reviewers noted that the book was riddled with editing errors xcsoar herunterladen. While this edition has been overhauled, there still exist a number of rather obvious mistakes. (I’m no professional editor, but the missing, extra, and incorrect words are hard to miss.) This edition includes the five “missing” milestone tapes, which the author notes are very rough cuts; these decidedly worse.
  • Book One could stand to be about 50 pages shorter; this first half really dragged on for me.
  • Though ostensibly the focus of the book, the milestone tapes are only mentioned three or four times in the first 50% of The Milestone Tapes, usually briefly and in passing. Jenna finally gets around to recording them in one day about two months before her death. Since they seem such an integral part of the story, I expected her to expend more effort on them: pondering them, mapping them out, creating them wie kann ich mit iphone filme herunterladen. (I’ve spent more writing cookbook reviews, okay.) And given that she dedicates about an hour of her time to each tape, the actual recording (or transcript, as it were) is surprisingly brief.
  • Jenna and her family are so privileged that many readers, I suspect, will have trouble relating. For example, there’s no indication that Jenna’s illness impacted the Chamberlands financially. At all. The cost of Jenna’s treatment, her flights to and from Seattle, the extended leave of absence from work: none of these prove a hardship, however minor game overnight.

    In fact, the Chamberlands are able to afford a (seemingly full-time) nanny/housekeeper in Ginny, who literally shows up on Jenna’s doorstep, unbidden, like a graying guardian angel. Jenna splurges on Mia’s birthday party to ridiculous excess (a petting zoo? really?) and blows what sounds like a ton of money on Christmas presents. While I suppose this can be justified inasmuch as they are Jenna’s “lasts,” there’s no indication that dropping money like breadcrumbs is out of the ordinary for the Chamberlands james bond filme downloaden kostenlos.

    (Exhibit A: their dream home in Port Angeles. Incidentally, I call BS on Jenna’s home office: there’s no way that a) Jenna, a successful author, would decline her own home office in lieu of working in the kitchen and b) that Gabe could “sneak” an office into a home that he and Jenna are planning – carefully, down to every last fixture – together. Yeah, I’m just nitpicking now.)

    To wit: Mia grows up to be one pampered teenager, with a closet stuffed with pricey clothes, a shiny new Jeep for her 17th (16th?) birthday, and a father who takes her globe hopping during school vacations.

  • In fact, the intersection of poverty and health care is only alluded to once, in passing, in the form of Susanna Taft – the inspiration for the milestone tapes herunterladen. At thirty-five years old, this mother of five was married to a logger whose “company’s insurance hardly covered her treatments.” He was forced to leave his dying wife alone during the day, since he couldn’t afford not to work. She recorded six milestone tapes: one for each of her boys, and a sixth for her beleaguered husband. I can’t help but wonder if Susanna’s story would have proved more interesting (and representative of most people’s experiences) than Jenna’s.
  • Last but not least, I nearly threw my Kindle across the room when Gabe insisted on uprooting Mia and moving her to Seattle – just before her senior year of high school – so that he could marry Kris, a woman Mia has known for all of two months wie viel kann man auf netflix downloaden. It’s a real shite move, and one that seems out of character for Gabe, considering that he spent the past nine years commuting to Seattle so that Mia could stay in the home Jenna built for her. He couldn’t hold on one more year? Really? And I don’t know any teenager who would have handled this indignity with half the grace shown by Mia.
  • Overall, the things I enjoyed about The Milestone Tapes were almost equally tempered by those I didn’t quite like. An okay book, but not the first on death and dying I’d turn to when in need of a good cry. 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 on Amazon.

    (This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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