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Julie Lawson Timmer

Five Days Left

Julie Lawson Timmer Five Days Left
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Biographical note:

Julie Lawson Timmer grew up in Canada and earned a bachelor’s degree from McMaster University and a law degree from Southern Methodist University. She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and children and is a lawyer. This is her first novel; she is currently at work on her second.

Excerpt from book:

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

Copyright © 2014 Julie Lawson Ti


PART 1


Tuesday, April 5



Five Days Left


1.

Mara






Mara had chosen the method long ago: pills, vodka and carbon monoxide. A “garage cocktail,” she called it. The name sounded almost elegant, and sometimes, when she said it out loud, she could make herself believe it wasn’t horrifying.

It would still be horrific for Tom, though, and she hated herself for that. She would rather do it without leaving a body for him. But as much as she’d love to spare him from being the one to discover her, she knew not letting him find her would be worse. And at least this was the tidiest option. He could have someone come and take her car away. Fill her side of the garage with something else, to block the image. Bikes, maybe. Gardening supplies.

A second car for himself. Maybe she should arrange to have one delivered after. Would that be too weird, though? A gift from your dead wife. She should have given him one years ago. For their anniversary, or to celebrate bringing baby Lakshmi home. Or just because. She should have done so many things.

Mara frowned. How could it be that she had spent almost four years ticking off all those items on her long list of things to do before she died, yet here she was, five days from it and still thinking of things she should have done?

Ah, but that was the trick of it. Tell yourself you’ll wait until you’ve
accomplished every last thing and you’d keep putting it off. Because there would always be one last thing. Which might be fine for someone who had the luxury of delaying a few more weeks, or months, or years even, until they were finally out of excuses and ready to go through with it.

Mara didn’t have that luxury. In less than four years, Huntington’s disease, the mother of all brain cell destroyers, had already done more damage than she and Tom could have ever prepared for. She had the severance papers from the law firm to prove it. The once graceful, athletic body that was now slow to react, reluctant to cooperate.

If she allowed herself to experience that one more moment with her husband and daughter, to travel to that one last must-see destination, she might wake the next morning to find it was too late, and Huntington’s was in control. And she would be trapped in the terrifying in-between of not being able to end her life on her own, and not truly living, either.

Time was against her. She couldn’t risk waiting any longer. She could make it to Sunday, as she had planned. But she couldn’t wait past then.

Mara took a long swallow of water from the glass on her bedside table and stood. Inhaling deeply, she reached to the ceiling with both hands and focused on the bathroom door across the room. It was tempting to cast her eyes up toward her hands, the way the move was supposed to be executed, but she had gotten cocky before and the hardwoods always won. She counted to five, exhaled and tilted forward slightly, pressing her hands toward the floor for another count of five. A Sun Salutation modified beyond recognition, but enough to clear the fog from her brain.

The hiss of the shower stopped and Tom emerged from the bathroom, toweling his dark hair. “Good morning,” she said, eyeing his bare torso. “You’re wearing my favorite outfit, I see.”

<
Praise for FIVE DAYS LEFT

"Timmer's emotional debut should come with a box of tissues....The characters are so affecting it's tough to make it to Day 5. An Authentic and powerful story." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This starkly intimate epistolary novel …dissects the experiences of losing hope and finding strength….Timmer makes a powerful debut.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Like Joshilyn Jackson, Timmer, in her impressive debut novel, shows a facility for creating authentic characters dealing with heart-wrenching dilemmas….A compelling read and a good choice for book clubs.” —Booklist

“A beautifully drawn study of what is at risk when you lose control of your own life. Unique, gripping, and viscerally moving—this impressive debut novel heralds the arrival of an extremely talented writer.”  —Jodi Picoult, New York Times–bestselling author of The Storyteller and The Lone Wolf
 
Five Days Left is a heart-wrenching drama about a world in which there are no easy answers. With an unflinching gaze, Julie Lawson Timmer explores what makes a family, what happens when bonds (familial and otherwise) are tested, and the relationships we forge that change our lives. This novel feels as true as life.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Orphan Train
 
“Julie Lawson Timmer’s novel pulls no punches. It takes no prisoners. It is pure and honest. I sat down with this book after dinner, and, when I looked up, it was 2 a.m. and I had turned the last page. My only regret was that there weren’t a hundred more pages; Five Days Left is that compelling.” —Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times–bestselling author, The Deep End of the Ocean
 
“An affecting, heart-wrenching tale of one woman’s descent into a progressive, fatal illness, and how she decides to take her fate into her own hands. Timmer handles delicate, controversial issues with deep insight into human nature, and ultimately renders a story that will stay with readers long after they reach the last page.” —Amy Hatvany, author of Heart Like Mine, Best Kept Secret, Outside the Lines, and The Language of Sisters
 
“A stunning debut about the impossible things we do for love. Heartbreaking yet uplifting, Five Days Left is a book I won't ever forget.” —Sarah Pekkanen, internationally bestselling author of Catching Air, The Opposite of Me, Skipping a Beat, These Girls, and The Best of Us
 
“In her beautiful, brave debut, Julie Lawson Timmer examines the limits of love and resilience—as well as the heartbreaking decisions parents must sometimes make. With a fresh revelation on every page, this novel is a gift.” —Camille Noe Pagán, author of The Art of Forgetting
 
“A lesson in compassion and grace.  An emotional journey that left me weeping, humbled, and ultimately hopeful.” —Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List
 


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