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“Before Everything” by Victoria Redel

3.5 out of 4 stars.

A group of friends deal with death.

Anna has always been a star able to create a gravitational pull with whomever she meets. She is the leader of her close-knit friend group and they all go to her for advice. It has been like this since they were children! Much to everyone’s absolute dismay, Anna becomes sick. It has been easy enough to maintain wishful thinking until hospice becomes the only option left so she can have somewhat of comfort with her illness. This word “hospice” has shaken everyone to the core. There are no more options left to turn to, the fate is there in black and white. The best medicine at this point is to just spend as much time together as possible. The friends; Helen, Caroline, Molly, and Ming drive up every weekend to Anna’s Massachusetts home to try and laugh as much as they can.

A very emotional and spot on portrayal of what it is like to deal with death. I was shocked to hear it was fiction because that is how real it felt. I would assume Redel must of gone through something similar in her life in order to string together such beautiful moments.

Of course, this type of book is difficult to pounce upon to read since it is so utterly grim. Please be warned that you will have some tears shed while reading. As someone that has recently gone through a passing of a loved one, (my mother at the young age of 57) the message/story the author creates in “Before Everything” creates that kinship bond that many will suffer from grief and you are not alone. It felt, in a way, nice to realize that this group of friends were feeling the exact things I had felt when my mom was in her last moments while checked into hospice.


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