Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: Now is Good (Formerly 'Before I Die') by Jenny Downham

Huge thanks to Random House for giving me a copy to review

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

With the up-coming release of the film, ‘Before I Die’ has been given a brand new look, and a brand new title to correspond with the film title ‘Now is Good.’
I’m not going to lie, I cried like a small child reading this book. It’s not an easy read, nor is it particularly cheerful, but it is incredible.

There is very little I can say about the book that hasn’t been said before. It’s an incredibly powerful book, emotional and engrossing, and the fact that the ending is known before even starting the book in no way diminishes the impact.

Tessa is an incredible character, she’s strong and feisty and determined, but she’s also incredibly angry at times which could have made her less likeable, but I just found that it made her even more realistic and I warmed to her more – who wouldn’t be angry in her situation?

Her desperate search to cram as much life as possible into the time left to her wraps the reader up and completely immerses them in her impulsive and frenetic struggle to truly feel alive.

It’s a tragically beautiful story that celebrates and mourns the fragility of life, and every important aspect of it – love, family and friendships.

 “I love you. I love you. I send this message through my fingers and into his, up his arm and into his heart. Hear me. I love you. And I'm sorry to leave you.”

The film will be released on September 19th 2012, and I strongly recommend going to see it. The trailer looks amazing, but I’m certainly going to be taking a box of tissues with me…


  1. I sobbed my way through this book! and just watching the trailer brings a tear to my eye!

  2. This is my all time favourtie book ever. EVER. I have read it about 9 times now. I ball my eyes out every time. It is so deep and emotional but also life affirming. I'm a huge reader and love books but this one is just incredible, I have never found one quite like it, not for my lack of trying! I wish I could meet Jenny Downham and tell how her much this beautiful story moved me every single time.
    I'm quite scared to actually see the movie, movies always change things and I'm so upset that they changed the title, the title was perfect. I hope it lives up to the huge expectations of the book in my mind.
    This book has changed my life. Thank you.