Friday, November 9, 2012

The Book of Dahlia

The Book of Dahlia, by Elisa Albert

Dahlia Finger, a selfish, shallow, foul-mouthed, and stoner Jewish American princess who was conceived on a kibbutz, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at the young age of 29.

In search of answers, she finds a self-help guide in an effort to help her grapple with her cancer and impending demise. And she begins looking back on her shambles of a life.

Dahlia is not particularly likable, but as her childhood memories come forth, it's clear why she got to be the way she is. When her flaky Israeli mother and American father break up, her previously loving and adoring older brother Dan turns on her. He becomes her worst tormentor, treating her horribly and humiliating her constantly, while she only wants his approval and love. She feels abandoned and confused, and along with the absence of her mother during her formative years, this abandonment and cruelty shapes her life and personality.

There's no question where the story is headed, and if you're looking for an upbeat, happy story, this isn't it. I wouldn't even say it has much redemption in it. But it does make you think about your own life and where it's headed. Are you making the most of each hour you have?

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