The Plot (from Goodreads):
Dava Shastri, one of the world’s wealthiest women, has always lived with her sterling reputation in mind. A brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, however, changes everything, as she decides to take her death—like all matters of her life—into her own hands.
Summoning her four adult children to her private island, she discloses shocking news: in addition to having a terminal illness, she has arranged for the news of her death to break early, so she can read her obituaries.
As someone who dedicated her life to the arts and the empowerment of women, Dava expects to read articles lauding her philanthropic work. Instead, her “death” reveals two devastating secrets, truths she thought she had buried forever.
And now the whole world knows, including her children.
In the time she has left, Dava must come to terms with the decisions that have led to this moment—and make peace with those closest to her before it’s too late.
Compassionately written and chock-full of humor and heart, this powerful novel examines public versus private legacy, the complexities of love, and the never-ending joys—and frustrations—of family.
Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review and to Hachette Audio for the advanced listener’s copy. Dava Shastri’s Last Day publishes today!
What an awesome premise! Dava Shastri has decided not to let her cancer illness take her away from her impressive life, and instead wants to die on her own terms. She invites her entire family to her secluded home for her last day, with a doctor on call to euthanize her when she is ready. She has a few requests for her family before she passes.
Dava’s life story is complex and compelling. As word gets out that she has passed away (before she has actually died), rumors begin to circle about the daughter she gave up for adoption and her past flings. I loved hearing the gossip and then listening to Dava’s reflections on what really happened.
I felt sad for the Shastri-Perssons family, as they didn’t really seem like much of a family to me. They certainly weren’t close. They also didn’t seem to react to the news of Dava’s terminal illness the way a normal family would. It was hard to connect with any of Dava’s children, despite their story playing a large part in the book.
I loved this author’s writing style. Her prose certainly drew me into the story of Dava’s life and how she chose to end it. The fact that the main character was 70 years old was a huge draw for me, as most books I read center around characters in their late 20s or early 30s. I enjoyed the cultural exploration of Dava and Arvind’s ethnic backgrounds and how that played a role in their lives.
Despite the subject matter, Dava Shastri’s Last Day was oddly humorous at times. It also made me cry at certain passages–I love when a book can span all my emotions. This is a solid family drama that you should certainly add to your TBR if you’re a fan of character-driven novels.
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