Sunday, May 8, 2011
Megan's Way reviewed by fran lewis
Psychics are supposed to tell you what the future holds for you. As we meet Megan in 1988 she and her friend have their fortunes or future’s predicted by a woman who sees death in the cards for one of them. Frightened and fearful they both run out without learning or understanding the truth behind her words. Eleven years later we meet Megan again with her daughter Olivia about to go to flea market. Alerted to the fact that something is wrong with Megan the reader becomes concerned that she is really ill and that she is hiding it from her daughter by her actions and by her words.
Ovarian cancer is deadly if not caught right away. The symptoms are often confused with many other illnesses and sometimes go undiagnosed by many doctors as actress and talk show host Fran Dresher will attest to. When Megan realizes that her cancer has returned and the end result will not be good the entire course of her life will change and what happens will alter the direction of her 14-year-old daughter Oliva. Dealing with her fatal diagnosis and explaining to the reader just what she will endure is just part of what this book is about. There is so much more that the author brings to light in this outstanding novel Megan’s Way by author Melissa Foster. But, when the disease spreads to her bones Megan knows what she must do.
Riding home from a flea market she stops the car because she is ill. Hearing the doctor’s words, understanding Megan’s frustrations as the truth comes out and one 14-year old’s life will drastically change forever. Angered at her mother’s concealment of her illness, the author graphically describes her choices, solutions and false hopes. Olivia angry, confused by her mother’s behavior pushing her aside was suffering an unspoken ache. Spiritual connections are rare and Oliva and Holy seem to have one. Both knowing when the other needs them. Sheltering a child is many parent’s answers to problems. Realizing her mother is not telling the truth, she lashes out at her hoping to save her from months of torment and pain.
The circle of life has many pit stops and pitfalls as we go around from beginning to end. Each step of the way we often stop as new and different challenges hamper our progress and often change the direction we’d like to go. Terminal illnesses cannot be ignored but blocked from your mind, continuing your life’s journey and yet knowing, defeat is your ultimate lose-is what Megan Taylor has to face.
Painting is her outlet, her guide to her existence. A friendship that she explores with one man makes her feel alive and whole her illness rips it apart. Denial comes easy. Acceptance-not. Kids rebel- dangers are imminent and what happens as Megan finds out first hand on Olivia’s computer, will astound, terrify and refocus Megan. Where she went and what happens will alter her thinking and create a better understanding in her mind of what her daughter is really going though and what she must do next.
Secrets uncovered- friends torments revealed as Holly tells Megan her news. New relationships started and focusing on living ever present. Megan is single parent by choice. She did not divulge the name of the father of her child to anyone fearing it would rip other lives apart and she did not want to do that. Oliva’s birth and her father stay hidden until the time is right. Stopping her medications and refusing to live life with chemicals, Megan will not prolong the inevitable.
Holly, Jack, and Peter are her lifelong friends. Each harboring their own secrets and sadness of their own. Each interconnected and related. Megan’s calming personality is primary to her friends. Embracing their qualities helps center them setting the stage for what will happen next.
Admitting to Holly the gravity of her illness, where it formed and the hopelessness opens up a whole new flood of doubts, fears and questions for both Megan and Holly. Knowing that Olivia would now live with Holly and Jack freed Megan in many ways. Heart wrenching to say the least. No more medications and no borrowed time.
But, when Olivia finally learns the truth what will happen? Asking as any child would,” How will I go on without you?” I just lost my mom and my sister and that is one question that I ask myself everyday. Imagine not know where you are going or with whom? Imagine Olivia’s and what she feels.
Who is her real father? Who will she live with and how does she deal with the truth? Why does Megan decide to distance herself from Olivia? What is their annual bonfire ritual? What significance does this play and what is the final outcome that changes everything?
Reading Olivia’s diary is enlightening as Megan learns how perceptive, intuitive and astute her daughter is by reading her own words. As they complete their ritual and Olivia becomes closer to Megan the reader experiences along with her the true meaning of friendship, bonding, peace and final loss. As the end comes after the night of the ritual Olivia’s world changes. Watching life unfold form above Megan sees what is to come after her death and one realization comes to light. Feeling her presence around her and never wanting to leave her house, Megan’s spirits watches it all unfold.
Author Melissa Foster enlightens the reader as she takes us on Megan’s final journey into the other world. Describing her inner feelings of her friends, the new formed relationships, her daughter’s sadness as she watches her own funeral, hearing the words of others and wishing her own mom were there.
Reading the words and understanding the grief. “Live your Life. Please live your life, I am here for you. I will always be here for you.” I do believe those words as I speak to my sister and mom and see their faces when I close my eyes.
New friendships formed, understandings come about- one house is sold and changes begin. I do know how hard it is to give up something and somewhere that you have lived in all your life. When I gave the keys in 2 weeks ago to my mom’s apartment it ripped me apart. She lived there for 45 years and knowing I could see her and feel her everyday made a difference. I think that is why I understand why Olivia needed time to do the same thing as we kept the apartment an extra month to clean it out and understand that my mom was all around us even if she was not physically there.
Holly’s secret if revealed would have changed the course of everyone’s life and created a serious pitfall if known. Will she tell the truth about Olivia’s birth or will she keep it to herself?
An ending so riveting and explosive and a 14-year-old girl who grows up overnight. Jack, Holly, Peter, Cruz and one young boy named Jason who finds his way and heart into Olivia’s present because he understands her past and has lived it himself, are Megan’s friends for life and eternity.
Real life issues brought to light. Olivia learning the truth as she reads her mothers final words and she learns the one secret that will not only unite her present but her past. Saying goodbye is note easy- you don’t have to. The author’s ending is poignant, though provoking and leaves many questions for discussion groups. So vividly described the reader feels part of the story and is enveloped in both the sadness and the glory of Megan’s final journey.
This is one book that will bring tears to the reader’s eyes and leave many unanswered questions in your mind. What is Olivia’s final fate? What would happen she reveals the truth? What does she write and read to her mother when they scatter her ashes at her goodbye ceremony? These and other questions I will not reveal. You need to read this outstanding, soon to be a movie for yourself. Megan’s Way: She definitely did it her own. In the words of Frank Sinatra: I lived life to the fullest and I did It MY WAY! As Megan would say: HER WAY TOO!
Fran Lewis: reviewer
Thank you, Sheila, and thank you fran for the thoughtful review. I appreciate the time and honesty you put into your reviews.