Our Short History

Algonquin. Mar. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781616206222. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616207182. F
OrangeReviewStarKaren Neulander is writing what no mother wants to give to her child: the story of their life together, to be read when he's an adult. Karen has Stage IV ovarian cancer, with a possibility of two years to live. She'll never get to see her six-year-old son, Jacob, go to college, or play sports, or marry. As a single mother, it's always been the two of them against the world. She's made plans for him to live with her sister's family after her death. Then Jacob asks to meet his father. When Dave learned Karen was pregnant, he insisted he didn't want to be a father and even questioned whether the baby was his. But now he's eager to meet his son, and Jacob and Dave bond immediately. Now, on top of her guilt, anger, and grief, Karen faces a new emotion: fear that her ex will take Jacob since she is dying.
VERDICT Grodstein's (The Explanation for Everything) heartbreaking, character-driven story is told in the remarkable, believable voice of a courageous, sympathetic character. Recommended for readers of Jodi Picoult, Lisa Genova, or Sally Hepworth's The Mother's Promise.
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