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Reviewed by Jennifer Ibiam for Readers' Favorite
Healthy forty-four-year-old Luke goes to the doctor because he is coughing. Unfortunately, this is the beginning of his travails. Luke has an inoperable cancer tumor that is messing with his lungs and restricting his airways. He has a loving relationship with his video producer wife Maggie, his dog, and his insufferable sister-in-law Ronnie. Luke has multiple rounds of chemo, and with each visit to the hospital, they encounter humbling experiences. However, A Cancer Patient’s Wife by Maren Higbee shines the spotlight on Luke’s wife, Maggie. Maggie never saw it coming, but she must adjust to her new reality, even as she tries to stay sane and not lose herself. Will she lose Luke? Will cancer break down their relationship?
A Cancer Patient’s Wife by Maren Higbee is a story of love, perseverance, strength, pain, and kindness. The victim is in pain and has everyone’s attention. We often focus on the sick person, forgetting their loved ones, especially the primary caregiver. The lives of primary caregivers, especially spouses, never remain the same. There are also reactions of fear that could drive a wedge between relationships. They may even deal with insensitivity from family and friends who should give support. The caregiver grieves for longer because they watch loved ones wither before their eyes. It is a trauma lived in real time. Caregivers are warriors who never give up till the end, even while struggling with their own mental health. I loved this story's writing style, characters, plot, and development. Maggie is a trooper, and Luke is solid. I loved them both. I did not like Ronnie, regardless of any redeeming qualities she possessed. Her self-absorption and lack of boundaries put me off. I enjoyed reading this novel, and I'm sending my love to all caregivers. May your strength never fail.