Live a Little Review
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Raquel Rose is diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Knowing that death is imminent, she appears on her sister’s popular talk show and raises a hefty sum during a charity telethon. To her surprise, Raquel finds that her diagnosis has earned her respect as an artist, along with the love and attention from a family that once all but ignored her.

When Raquel finds out that her diagnosis was a mistake, nobody believes her, thinking she’s in denial. Raquel plods on, letting everyone believe she’s in remission, not only because she’s enjoying the spotlight and her newfound fame, but also because her involvement in the fight against breast cancer is making a difference, and money continues to roll in from her fund-raising efforts. Of course, Raquel can’t keep up the extreme façade forever and, as you might expect, everything eventually comes to a head.

Author Kim Green successfully portrays Raquel’s struggles with her famous sister, a hovering mother, willful teenagers, her wishy-washy husband, and the judgmental members of the community. Still, even with great characters and a comical writing style, she doesn’t quite pull off this quirky plot to the point where one can imagine something like this happening. While the author herself admits that she wanted to see how far she could take the idea and still make Raquel “relatable,” the juxtaposition of Raquel lying about having cancer yet loving her new life (she has an affair with her daughter’s surfing instructor) is often hard to swallow.

Some may find the protagonist’s undertaking of fake chemotherapy treatments and purposely shaving her head an affront to those victims of the disease who don’t have a choice in the matter, and it might be hard to forgive. But the reader should keep in mind that it is fiction—a story written with the best of intentions.

As long as you can get by the whole faking cancer thing, you’ll find that Live a Little is a fast-paced novel. It kept me reading because, once I started, I had to find out how this book was going to end. It’s definitely a page-turner, if only because you’ll want to find out how far Kim Green will push the envelope.

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