In Before Everything by Victoria Redel, we meet Anna and her family and friends. Anna has decided not to fight the cancer that is ravaging her, and instead goes the course of hospice. We meet her family and friends, both The Old Friends, a term they coined for themselves in middle school, and her new friends who she’s known for over 20 years, and see how they react and deal with her choice.
Anna’s two worlds collide, with the old friends swooping in to offer support and encouragement. Through it all, Anna is strong, decisive, courageous. We see how significant she is and how she has affects all the people around her. The old friends and new friends learn to work together to support her.
Before Everything made me laugh out loud and cry. Sometimes, I was annoyed at the choices made by people in this book, but I was engaged and interested in the story. The other challenge that I had was keeping track of the timeline, because the story went back and forth a lot. A few times, I found myself rushing through pages on the back story to get to the current day. I found the present day part of the story most engaging.
I enjoyed this book, and recommend it. It explores themes of friendship, death, love, relationships, fighting and acceptance.