So Much For That

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Lionel Shriver writes a compelling book. Readers of We Need to Talk about Kevin will never forget the devastating last pages. Her newest effort, So Much for That, is compelling in a different way. Shep Knacker has spent his life planning his Afterlife to a tropical paradise. Merrill Lynch account overflowing from the sale of his business, suitcase packed to go, Shep is finally leaving, with or without his prickly wife Glynis. Except Glynis has a rare form of cancer. And so begins an unforgettable and timely, journey through the American health care system. Shep’s account dwindles as he becomes caretaker to his increasingly vindictive wife, money disappearing to rounds of chemo, specialists and experimental drugs. Meanwhile, his best friend Jackson is going bankrupt caring for his own terminally ill daughter, Flicka, and making unwise decisions that leave him scarred- physically and emotionally. As Flicka longs to end her suffering and Glynis refuses to give up, Jackson makes one final shocking decision and Shep makes a decision that will change all of their lives. The final pages are as appalling as they are uplifting and when you are finished, you will find yourself praying you never, ever get sick.

So Much For That

Shep Knacker has long saved for “the Afterlife,” an idyllic retreat in the Third World where his nest egg can last forever. Exasperated that his wife, Glynis, has concocted endless excuses why it’s never the right time to go, Shep finally announces he’s leaving for a Tanzanian island.

Shep Knacker has long saved for “the Afterlife,” an idyllic retreat in the Third World where his nest egg can last forever. Exasperated that his wife, Glynis, has concocted endless excuses why it’s never the right time to go, Shep finally announces he’s leaving for a Tanzanian island, with or without her. Yet Glynis has some news of her own: she’s deathly ill. Shep numbly puts his dream aside, while his nest egg is steadily devastated by staggering bills that their health insurance only partially covers. Astonishingly, illness not only strains their marriage but saves it.

From acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Lionel Shriver comes a searing, ruthlessly honest novel. Brimming with unexpected tenderness and dry humor, it presses the question: How much is one life worth?