A medical crisis. A mysterious reconnection with an old friend. An actual boyfriend. Cecily’s had a busy year.
About this book: Childhood neighbors Suzie and Cecily lost touch when Suzie moved away after fifth grade. Through social media, they rekindle their offbeat friendship when they find they are simultaneously fighting cancer.
But Cecily has just learned from a reality television show that Suzie has died–of complications due to alcohol and drug abuse. Did Suzie really have cancer at all? Or was she, as the Dr. Dick show makes it appear, a compulsive liar and an alcoholic living in denial to the end?
Their relationship, and the truth about Suzie, is revealed through Facebook updates, emails and prose. Technology is both a story-telling device and an accomplice, facilitating the relationships and complicating them.
The Truth About Suzie explores the threads that hold us together and asks the reader what makes a relationship real. Does the virtual mirror of social media distort us, or do we distort it to reflect what pleases us about ourselves and hide what doesn’t?
About the author: Erica Rimlinger lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, Kevin, and son, Max. learn more about her and her other work at EricaRimlinger.com.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: A shade past PG-13 for occasional profanity and sexual innuendo.
Why I read this book: Because it’s about a topic that hits scarily close to home.
Reminds me of… Beth Kendrick, Jennifer Weiner, Lauren Weisberger, Helen Fielding. Edgy chick lit with a breast-cancer twist.
This story matters because…it examines the transcendent, enduring nature of friendship.
My take: First off, can I just say that I admire what this author has done? She’s taken one of life’s scariest situations and found humor and hope in it, which she has then transformed into an entertaining story to buoy other women who may also–if not now, then someday–find themselves in similar situations. In my opinion, this is why writers are called to write: to lift up our fellow life travelers. Bravo.
From the outset, I was intrigued by the premise of The Truth About Suzie, and this–coupled with the fact that my sweet, young (34) sis-in-law had just been diagnosed with breast cancer–compelled me to take a look.
While I liked the way the opening gambit brought me right into Cecily’s life, I also found those first few pages a bit confusing. It was the narrative order that tripped me up–it didn’t unfold linearly. Then there was a bigger chronological jump back to over a year before when Cecily was first diagnosed with cancer, as revealed by way of her social media postings. I found this and some head-hopping (when the narrative point of view switches from one character’s perspective to another without explanation or break) a bit distracting.
These are on the whole fairly minor issues. What I would choose to focus on is the author’s sassy take on a serious subject. The Truth About Suzie is filled quirky characters as well as the wisdom and self-deprecating humor of someone who’s been there. I have a hunch that if I was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and craved the perspective of a survivor, this book would be just what the doctor ordered.
[Tweet “On breast cancer and the transcendent, enduring nature of friendship. The Truth About Suzie @ERimlinger.”]
Thanks to the author for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: Friends, wherever you find yourself in this adventure called life, I think you would be uplifted and encouraged by the perspective Erica offers in this blog post: I Might Be Doomed. And I’m Happier Than I’ve Ever Been. It cheered me and made me look at some of my own life circumstances more hopefully.
Have you or a loved-one been through a life-threatening situation? What have you learned?