Its rather girly cover is misleading. It isn’t light reading, not the sort of light-hearted book I had in mind when I packed it for my trip. It is a soul-searching and painfully honest book, exploring fundamental issues of love, loss, guilt and medical ethics.
Camille is an organ transplant coordinator, and her own small child needs a liver transplant. Addie is only three, and she has spent much of her young life in and out of hospital. Her parents, Camille and Paul juggle their careers, the needs of little Rosie who is still a toddler, and the round-the-clock shifts in hospital so that Addie will never wake up alone and frightened. They are not very good at juggling the emotional demands that all this makes on their marriage, and Camille, the anguished narrator, feels the marriage is doomed.
A sub-plot both lightens and complicates the story. Camille’s father was a noted sculptor, and she is asked to curate a retrospective of his work. While this gives her an outlet for her emotions and a chance to occasionally be someone other than the mother of a very sick child, it also triggers long-suppressed curiosity about her mother’s sudden death. Camille’s discoveries about her father’s art, her mother’s frailties and her own moral quandaries are intertwined with the escalating deterioration of Addie’s condition which makes for heart-stopping reading.
Author: Natasha Lester
Title: If I Should Lose You
Publisher: Fremantle Press, 2012
Source: Review copy courtesy of Fremantle Press