Author: Steven Manchester

Publisher: The Story Plant

ISBN: 978-1-61188053-3

In the Bible, Hebrews 9:27 states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment …” Steve Manchester has written a book about a middle aged man’s impending death and how he accepts it in Twelve Months.

This three hundred and twenty three page paperback book has a photograph of a beautiful old tree against a scenic green background with an old chair nearby on the front cover.  Inside the first three pages are book reviews.  With only a couple of profanities, the subject matters of dying, death, war memories and even bowel movements make the book geared toward young adult or older, perhaps especially for the baby boomer generation.

This tome is not a preachy, self-help, listing of what to do if one is facing death but an actual novel of fifty-seven year old Don DiMarco’s hearing he has colon cancer and coming to terms with his sentence over more than a twelve month period.  Except for the final pages, it is fictionally written in first person as he hears, adjusts, makes amends, accepts and understands his impending doom.

After been given a twelve month medical prognosis, Don writes a list of five “no regrets” that he wants to accomplish be for he dies: drive a race car on a race track, herd cattle as a cowboy, get paid as a newspaper reporter, tour the United States in a RV and hook a forty pound bass.  With the help of his understanding and sympathetic wife, his concerned daughter, thoughtful son-in-law and two growing grandchildren, he accomplishes each goal as his physical strength dissipates.  Within the year period, he not only resolves his unfinished military emotions visiting Vietnam, takes a cooking class so he can make dinner for his wife, visits his old neighborhood and Martha’s Vineyard, reconnects with a childhood best friend, tries stand-up comedy, but he also remarries his wife and takes her to Barbados for a second honeymoon, establishes lasting memories with his grandchildren and volunteers at a children’s hospital.

At times, one would think in the short twelve plus month time period, the dying man accomplishes far too many activities while in writhing, growing pain and popping more and more pain killers.  Throughout the story, there is the undercurrent of Don wanting to complete one more jigsaw puzzle – like life, each piece has to perfectly fit together to make it work. 

In the end Don understands “there ain’t nothing to see that you can’t catch at home” and finally realizes that “God is the sum of ALL things and there is nowhere and in nothing that His love cannot be found.”  It is one’s wandering, meandering path of life that goes straight to God when one finally sees his or her entire reason for being when facing death.

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