Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed last week’s blog and are looking forward to reading this one.
When choosing to read 47 Things I couldn’t remember anything about it from when I purchased it ages ago. It was just sitting in my list of books that I wanted to read. So, I went into this book only knowing that something in the description made me buy it. I didn’t know who the author was, what style of book this was let alone what to expect from this book. Saying that, I found my heartstrings pulled throughout this book and was surprised by the turn the book took even though I guessed it ahead of the reveal.
My first surprise happened almost immediately at the start of the book when I discovered that this book was centered around a boy and girl in their final year of uni at the University of Sydney. I wasn’t expecting this book to be set in Australia, but it was a pleasant surprise for me having lived in Sydney for a few years. When Lilliana describes various locations in Sydney and the surrounding areas I found myself really seeing these locations based on my memories. When Tyler takes Sara with him to go dirt bike riding I could imagine the nature surrounding them, I could imagine the shape of the mountains in the background, the smell of the mountain dirt as well as the sound of the local wildlife living in the bushland areas. And trust me on this, Aussie bushland sights, smells and sounds are vastly different to city sights, smells and sounds. I really liked that Lilliana described the scenery in enough detail to give me the base to then add on my own memories. Since I’ve seen and lived in these areas myself I really appreciated this. But I’m not sure someone who hasn’t seen the scenery will get the full impact of these locations.
Learning about how Tyler and Sara were getting to know each other you can tell that something is seriously wrong with Tyler, but Lilliana waits until over halfway through the book to share what this is. All we know is that Tyler is amazing, attentive, loyal and everything a girl wants in a guy while he’s around. But then for some reason Tyler goes walkabout and disappears on Sara. She tried not to worry since her and Tyler weren’t really dating yet. He was just looking after her after breaking her foot. But Sara gets so worried about Tyler’s sudden disappearances that she asks his uni friends who won’t give her anything.
But after one such disappearance that’s lasted longer than most, Sara is home in Moama to visit her family for Christmas. While in town she runs into someone who was there the day Tyler left Moama and never came back. Sara took this opportunity to find out more about what happened that day. Only problem is, that information was so vague that when Sara Googled what could be going on with Tyler she found that he could have anything from anxiety through to cancer. Obviously, this scared the crap out of her and instantly made her send him a message to tell him to meet her at her apartment in Sydney in 8 hours, giving her enough time to drive all the way back to Sydney from Moama.
When Sara confronts Tyler about this he assures her that he’s not dying from cancer, but that he still won’t share what is going on. And he stresses to her that if she doesn’t like him leaving and then coming back to tell him not to come back. Otherwise, when he does leave he will always come back. As romantic and heart pulling as this part was, all I could think about was “If you really cared for her why wouldn’t you just explain why you keep disappearing? Or stop disappearing altogether?”. I feel like I spent 3 days obsessing over why Tyler kept walking out on Sara before finally getting to the point of the book where I found out why.
When I got to the point where we found of that Tyler has MS I felt like an ass. Of course, he’d want to hide his deteriorating physical condition. What 21 yr old wants to have the physical capabilities of the elderly? I know if I was in that position I’d want to hide that for as long as possible as well so that I could be treated like a normal young adult as well. How could I judge him for something that I’d handle in the same way? This really reminded me to not judge people and their circumstances until I know more information. And this applies to both my personal and professional life. I’d like to think I do this really well, but I know I’m not perfect and that I make mistakes and sometimes judge too quickly based on previous experiences with certain individuals. So, it was good to be reminded that not everything is as it seems, even if you have known someone a long time.
Once Sara hears all this from Tyler she accepts his apology and they can move on. For them this involves trying to tick off as many of his bucket list items before he reaches a point where he can no longer get around by himself; at which point he wants to be euthanized. Only, this is illegal in Australia, so Tyler, Sara and Tyler’s mum need to hatch a plan for assisted suicide so that no one can be charged for murder. Again, I can really see myself in this situation. Only I’m hoping that by the time I’m old enough to worry about this that the Australian government will make euthanasia legal for those who will have no quality of life and want the choice to end their own suffering.
The good thing, Sara wound up pregnant before his time was over and had a son to raise that reminded her of her fleeting time with Tyler. The epilogue is dedicated to showing us this and finishes up by telling us how Sara and her little boy will be travelling to tick of more of Tyler’s bucket list items. This was the final heartstring pulling moment for me and even made me tear up on the train while I read this because it’s so sweet. And it will allow the little boy to get to know his father through experiencing the things he wanted to experience but couldn’t because of his MS. So even though this book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions, it finished off on a sadly happy note that didn’t include a typical romantic happily ever after which made me enjoy the ending even more.
Thank-you for taking the time to read this blog and I look forward sharing my thoughts about “38 Days” by Len Webster next week.