Five Days Left by Jennifer Lawson Timmer is the story of two people connected through an online forum for parents with non-traditional parenting arrangements. Mara Nichols is a 42-year-old, Indian-Canadian attorney living with Huntington’s disease. She and her husband have an adopted Indian daughter. Mara connects with Scott Coffman, a married middle school English teacher from Detroit through the forum. Scott and his pregnant wife Laurie are fostering 8-year-old Curtis who is the half-brother of a former student of Scott’s.
In five days, Mara plans to commit suicide so her family doesn’t have watch her succumb to Huntington’s, a neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. In five days, Curtis will go back to his mother who is a recovering addict who will be released from jail.
The book switches between Mara’s and Scott’s points of view. I listened to the audiobook and actors Rebecca Lowman as Mara and Kirby Heyborne as Scott provide a pleasant change as they interact in the storytelling.
Timmer writes detailed thoughts and emotions for Mara and Scott as they go through their last five days. I could relate to them, but didn’t always agree with them. The storytelling is evenly-paced and emotionally charged. Be prepared with tissues as both characters learn to love and let go.
To learn more about the devastating effects of Huntington’s disease, read Sheila’s review of Inside the O’Brien’s.