A dying man sets out to recalibrate the course of his life in this debut novel.
When it comes to astute advice, arguably nobody’s smarter than the suave high schooler Ferris Bueller, the popular movie character played by Matthew Broderick. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” Ferris wisely observes. Indeed, that realization dawns on this story’s narrator, Brendon Merullo, after he receives a cancer diagnosis at age 43. He may have succeeded at building a multibillion-dollar business, but that achievement came at a steep price: no time for the things that really mattered, such as his family—wife Amanda, and children, Thomas and Alexis. Now that he’s staring at an hourglass, watching the grains of sand sliding down, Brendon is haunted by regret. What’s the use of all the material goods he has surrounded himself with if he has no time to enjoy them, he wonders. “I found out that the price tag on the things we buy is not equivalent to their value,” Brendon says. He decides to “right the ship,” to live every minute to its fullest, to follow his heart, and to redirect his waning energy on setting up charities that will have a lasting, positive effect on his community, especially those battling cancer. Brendon makes time to be with Amanda, the kids, and his father, whom he calls a hero. By the tale’s end, he has made peace with his circumstances and learns to let go of regret. The novel’s storyline is pretty skeletal; not much really happens to propel the plot. Instead, most of the book reads like a commencement address directed at graduates, advising them to get their priorities straight before it’s too late. At one point, Brendon muses: “We all lead our lives as if we have an infinite amount of it. You only realize how precious time really is once you are about to run out of it.” But his lament is earnest and sincere, and his realizations about life’s real treasures will resonate with many, especially those facing similar circumstances. After all, Ferris might have been a slacker, but his heart was certainly in the right place.
A wise and touching tale about a wealthy cancer victim who offers sage advice.