Through it All

Christina Lim

Publisher: Partridge Pages: 122 Price: (paperback) $13.27 ISBN: 9781543770186 Reviewed: October, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In this slice of life novella, a young family’s life is upended when the father is diagnosed with cancer and his odds of survival are low.

Jordan and Christine “Tris” Buffay are the parents of 14-years-old twin daughters and a 17-year-old son when doctors find Jordan has “leukaemia [sic].” Tris is immediately angered by the doctor’s efforts to keep a positive attitude, reminding the physician that the possibility of surviving cancer is “four percent,” while the survival rate for “leukaemia,” “just 2 percent.”

At home, the couple struggle with the news and how, or even if, to tell their children who are at summer camp. Ultimately, the family of five agree they will get through the crisis together.

Life, however, doesn’t get easier. Tris must deal with a sexist co-worker who harasses her even in the knowledge of her husband’s illness and worse, who will likely soon be her boss. It seems it can’t get worse, but then Tris learns the reason behind her dizzy spells and, later, that a couple trusted to help with the kids should have never been allowed near them.

The author writes well, delivering nice turns of phrase (such as her description of a colleague who had “a face that made you want to spill all your secrets…”) and a nice dose of humor to lighten dark moments. But other than Tris, the characters are too lightly sketched for readers to invest in them. It’s unclear what Jordan does for a living and even Tris’s job is foggy, nor do readers know where the family lives. Worse, perhaps, is the colleague whose comments and abuse make him almost a caricature. Much of this story is an enjoyable read, but the characters need more development and the evil adversary is a bit too stereotypical.

While readers looking for a simple escape with characters who experience relatable problems might find rewards here, revision is required to lend the story more widespread appeal.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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