Bev Greeley could have never predicted that the burden she tried to cast off long ago would become her only source of joy in her final days.
Until Lily is a moving tale, rich in the universal struggles we all face, illuminated by Bev's contrite reflection on the life chosen for her -- a life filled with the strife, chaos, tragedy, laughter, deep meaning and redemption possible only when you hand yourself over to love. It's a tender and gritty story about the truths underlying the human condition and the inalienable value of evvery soul, even if it can do nothing more than love or be loved.
Kathleen Basi on Goodreads wrote:
I enjoyed this book because it is well written but also I love the parts I can relate to as a parent of a toddler with Down syndrome and also what I might have to plan for or look forward to.
This book is narrated by an elderly woman with Parkinson's, who is reflecting on her life with her niece, who has Down syndrome and who she raised (unwillingly).
Excessive praise always puts my guard up. In this case, the praise is deserved. I wondered several times if this book would have read so easily if I didn't have a child with Down syndrome myself. I still haven't answered that question satisfactorily, but the voice is terrific. Humorous, irreverent, blunt--she says the things about parenting that all of us think, but don't want to say. As for Down syndrome, I laughed many times at her descriptions of her daughter, because they could have been descriptions of mine.
The structure breaks many rules. It's almost entirely told, with leaps into the past taking center stage without warning. For some reason, none of this bothered me; the strength of the writing made it work. When I began reading the final scene, I literally gasped and burst into tears, and the whole structure made sense. To preserve the surprise, I won't say any more than that.
This is a Catholic novel. By and large the references are smooth and well integrated. There were two scenes in which someone invoked "John Paul the Great," which I found jarring and attention-drawing instead of integral to the book (despite my admiration for the man!). Outside of those two scenes, and a bit of a long philosophical discussion with a priest, I thought it was a great study of how to work religion into a novel without making it preachy.
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