Review - "Last Dance With Mary Jane" by John Goode
What if...your dead love could talk to you?
Very Highly Recommended
Peter isn't handling the death of his partner well. Ah, that's an understatement, perhaps. He's out of his friggin' mind.
He's drinking, thinking over and over about the irony of what strength and will it took for Shayne to not only accept his diagnosis of Stage 2 HIV infection and the six or seven year life expectancy, but to actually overcome it and be healthy on the other end. Then, to lose his life in a freak car accident when he had everything to live for.
And the worst of his downward spiral is the constant calls he makes to Shayne's cell phone, just to have that one last bit of his man, one small slice of his day where he can hear his voice and everything can be right with the world.
But he knows that he's just hanging on by his fingernails. To Shayne, to his sanity.
And there are people all around him trying to help - his therapist, a bartender, and his neighbor. Trying to get him to get it all out and move on.
And then his life takes the weirdest turn yet when he calls Shayne's phone to hear him one more time...and Shayne answers.
What would you do?
John Goode has taken this dilemma and turned it inside on itself in this breathtakingly beautiful story about the ultimate second chance. To take my worst nightmare - losing a loved one without being able to say all the important things like "I love you" one more time - and having God, fate, the Universe give me one more chance to talk to that person...is so poignantly gut-wrenching.
Mr. Goode took me by the hand and led me along this road of discovery that is at once so self-evident and yet so very hard to grasp. He showed me the slow growth of love and caring, and how the path of love and life takes us through joy and illness and anger and joy. Then the grief of loss, and the stumbling steps we try to take to get back on way to living again.
Ah, but it would be easy to stop there. Just to make this another man-gets-over-tragedy story. That's not good enough. Mr. Goode took it one step further, and asked me, if you could make one last call, have one last talk, what would you say?
His Peter has to make that choice, and it forced me to wonder for myself, what would I do and what would I say? It's especially relevant as I just lost my partner, but I had the chance to say all the important things, the I love you's and the you are mine and I am yours' and the goodnight and goodbye's.
But...I would give much - everything - to have one more talk...but I have no regrets.
There are fantastic turns and twists here - how Shayne got to be nicknamed MJ, and how Peter used the word "feckless" and who it pissed off, and how the Universe is like a clock.
Trust me, read this and find it all out for yourself. Then think about who you need to call tonight and say something to, in case you don't have a tomorrow with them.