Soon to be a major motion picture directed by George C. Wolfe, produced by Denise Di Novi and starring Hilary Swank, Josh Duhamel and Emmy Rossum
Bec is adrift. It's the summer before her junior year in college. She's sleeping with a married professor, losing interest in her classes, and equivocating about her career. She takes a job caring for Kate, a thirty-six-year-old woman who has been immobilized by ALS.
As it turns out, before the disease Kate was a stylish and commanding woman, an advertising executive and an accomplished chef. Now, as she and Bec spend long days together, Bec begins to absorb Kate's sophistication and her sensuality, cooking for her, sharing her secrets, and gradually beginning to live her own life with a boldness informed by Kate's influence. The more intense her commitment to Kate, the further Bec strays from the complacency of her college life. And when Kate's marriage veers into dangerous territory, Bec will have to choose between the values of her old life and the allure of an entirely new one.
Wildgen's first novel centers on Bec, a self-absorbed college student drifting through school and an affair with a married poetry professor, and it shows real promise. When Bec takes a summer job caring for Kate, a young married woman with Lou Gehrig's disease, it seems easy to spot the formula: lost soul comes of age through the wisdom and resolve of the terminally ill. Where Bec is anxious and aimless, Kate is sarcastic and at peace; despite paralysis, she teaches Bec to cook extravagant meals, fund-raises for ALS research and spouts wicked one-liners. But when Kate kicks out her cheating husband, Evan, Wildgen's writing becomes clear and determined, daring to spotlight an almost taboo subject the need for sex among the sick. As Bec takes on more of Evan's roles, eventually moving into Kate's house, Bec's deep and conflicted feelings for her charge allow Wildgen to navigate the complicated moral territory of Evan's, or any young spouse's, responsibility to his terminally ill partner. The brash tone that weighs down the beginning of the novel becomes more credible and critical as Bec subsumes the powerful voice of her near-voiceless charge. Wildgen's debut showcases the talent that won her inclusion in Best New American Voices 2004, and should take her further still.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Lacked cohesion. Many parts didn't make sense or weren't believable. It felt unfinished at the end. I did not see the change in the main character that I was expecting. I was just disappointed all around.