In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda is an emotional and moving novel. It makes you question yourself as to what you would with your life if you found out that you were going to die soon. What choices would you make? Would you risk the life you have now to follow a different path?
Jennifer has it all. She has a great husband, a son, and a baby daughter. However hovering over all of that is the devastating diagnosis of cancer. With no other options Jennifer is staying at an experimental treatment facility trying anything she can just to get more time with her family and especially her young children. She thinks so often that they won’t even remember her when they grown up and since the cancer struck right after she had her baby girl she hasn’t even really had a lot of time just to be with her baby girl.
Jennifer is a tough cookie though and I admired that because under the same circumstances I don’t think I would be. While enduring her treatments she is still running her business and planning a party for herself along with still trying to be upbeat for her children. She refers to her party as a life celebration even though many think she’s planning a death reception. I see it from her point of view and wanting to see people before she’s gone if in fact she doesn’t make it. Still she has a lot of time on her hands and going through the treatments and feeling horrible has her thoughts drifting to negative things like how could anyone, especially her husband, love her the way she looks now. It is this thought process that has her turning to an old boyfriend she was once very much in love with when he comes to town to see her. He makes her feel attractive again and wanted, something her husband hasn’t done in a long time. She can’t help but wonder how different her life may have been had she chosen a different path. Just as she’s pushing the envelope a bit too far in a direction she probably shouldn’t go things go terribly awry leaving Jennifer shocked and even more disillusioned as to what she wants and needs from life.
This novel really addresses cancer and all its issues in a very real way. The author portrays Jennifer as being strong and yet having all the normal feelings of self-pity and loathing. She deals with wanting to leave a legacy for her children and worrying that they will never know her. Obviously she really struggles with her looks and feeling attractive as so many do when they are seriously ill do. She loves her husband and misses the close relationship they had before she got sick. While this novel does fall on the heavier side dealing with cancer and its effects on every aspect of your life and those around you it is also about hope, life, and love. It is about beating cancer the best way you can and learning amid all the turmoil that ultimately what matters is what you share with those you love the most.
I thought this novel was quite good and it hit me emotionally. I’m sure the story will stay with me for a while and the only thing I would have liked would have been an epilogue that occurred maybe a year after the story ends. I wanted just that little bit more but I love Kaira’s writing and can’t wait to read more of her work. Recommended to those who enjoy women’s fiction and novels that deal with subjects such as cancer.