Bring Back My Body To Me
Author: Rita Ciresi
Getting cancer in your twenties is hardly a picnic. But in this sparkling romantic comedy by Rita Ciresi, two young cancer survivors manage to meet, fall in love, and live to laugh about it.
Twenty-seven-year-old Francie Malarkey has one remaining relative left on earth: her Great-Uncle Sol, a concentration camp survivor whose last grand mission is to see Francie happily married (preferably to a cardiac surgeon). Francie, however, has zero interest in getting hitched to some guy who actually knows the Latin names for her more intimate body parts. Although she would love to claim that she met Mr. Right at a noisy New Year’s Eve party, her initial encounter with her husband-to-be comes to pass in a hushed hospital waiting room marked with fallout shelter symbols. Joel Goldman–like Francie–is a young cancer survivor who happens to be sitting underneath a warning sign–DANGER! RADIATION IN USE!–that seems to imply that love is a risky business best undertaken by AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.
Francie and Joel’s courtship would be a dream come true. . . if only Great-Uncle Sol would stop insisting that Francie needs to marry a doctor instead of a guy who already has one foot in the grave. . . if only Joel’s doctor-father would stop trying to micromanage his son’s medical care. . . and if only Francie and Joel learn to accept the fact that any person on earth can pass through death’s door without a moment’s notice.
This year, I’ve made it my goal to try and clear some of the books off my virtual TBR pile that have been languishing there for a while. While BBMBTM has only been there just over a year, I figured that was long enough and so I settled in to read it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the whole experience. This was a case where the book description (above, which is on both Goodreads and Amazon0 basically tells you everything that is going to happen. I found there to be few surprises or twists, which contributed to my disappointment.
Added to that, I couldn’t understand why the author had chosen to set a book that was released in 2012, in 1997 – there didn’t really seem to be any plot twists that needed that time period. The only thing I can think of is that she needed something that would work with Francie’s Uncle’s age/life experiences. While brings me to a third gripe – wayy to much of the book was devoted to Uncle Sol. While he seemed to be important in Francie’s life – in the book, he just seemed to drive her nuts (and not in a good way). As a character he was much more defined and developed than Francie/Joel and they were supposed to be the primary ones. The author seemed to also have a hard time figuring out how important the romance was going to be to the plot – from the description, I was expecting a lot more than I got. I couldn’t figure out if she didn’t know how to write it, or just didn’t follow through – but ultimately, I was disappointed.
I gave BBMBTM 2 stars on Goodreads, but it is probably more like 1.5 – I finished it through sheer tenacity – it wasn’t a long read (about 200 pages), but it just seemed to drag. I don’t think I’ll be trying any more books by the author in the future.