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"Megan's Way is a fine and fascinating read that many will find hope in." Midwest Book Review
The Megan's Way film will be entered in the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, South By Southwest Festival (SXSW In Austin Texas), Amsterdam Film Festival, as well as New York, LA , and Miami (just to name a few). This is a "Fest-Best" type of film and expected to make a major impact on festivals world wide.
I first want to share with my readers the personal perspective I bring to this review of "Megan's Way." Some 29 years ago I was widowed as a young woman with three children under the ages of 9. My precious young husband died of melanoma that had metastasized to major organs: we had several months to prepare for his death. This came after the original cancer of 11 years in the first year of our marriage. So, I'm someone well acquainted with cancer's toll on a person and those who love them. I read this book with that intimate awareness.
Melissa Foster has given us a true-to-life rendering of the process of dying. From the earliest stages of the person's acknowledgement of impending death, to their release of loved ones, their body and spirit; to the angst and responses of those who live with and love them, Ms Foster paints a portrait of the struggles and survivals. She understands the pain of those left behind and the awareness of those who have to do the leaving.
Through her very beautiful and tender portrayals, we come to know Megan and her intimate friends as if they were family. We get a clear and close up understanding of Megan's loving and tumultuous relationship with her teen aged daughter, Olivia. And, we are given unique insights into Megan's personality, thoughts, fears and death and dying processes from her own perspective, as well as from the perspectives of her friends and daughter. Ms Foster is spot on in her every detail of this experience with death, in my experience.
I found Melissa's writing, however, to be somewhat stilted in her efforts to get across all the points of the process, and then the major theme of the choices we have about our own death and dying. There is something lost in the flow of a story as the book progresses when it starts to be overtaken by a series of details on these numerous processes and points of dying, rather than having it more balanced within a storyline. This, however, does not take very much from the book or enjoyment of it in total, since I think it's worthy on many other levels.
While Megan considers her options of ceasing any other chemo or "prolonging" measures, and as she also contemplates the virtues of taking into her own hands the method and timing of her death, we are allowed to witness her conflicts. This option to choose is one that many come face-to-face with. Ms Foster gives us a balanced and open view of a woman who looks boldly into the face of death, weighs her options and takes into loving consideration the daughter she will leave behind.
The complexity of "Megan's Way" made this novel one that I loved reading. Certainly, it rang true to me in so many ways. It also touched my heart with its attempts to bring readers into a center of meaning and choices that will be an evitability in most of our lives.
The intertwined tale of friends and surrogate family lends itself to be a realistic possibility in light of the "secrets" that people tend to hold close in relationships. While one is living, the secret is easily kept and the "family" can pretend to overlook and rationalize...but once a foundational/pivotal person is going to be removed--the structure that holds it all together is jeopardized and must be delicately "readjusted." This is an element I'm also familiar with, personally, and one I thought Ms Foster handled elegantly.
I recommend your choosing to read "Megan's Way" before it's made into the movie for the Sundance Film Festival. It's going to have a great impact! And, it's a very enjoyable read on the order of a Jodi Picoult novel.
Strongly urge you to read more about Melissa Foster and her outreach programs, her newest book "Chasing Amy," and other books, and her social community for women called "The Women's Nest."