Steven Manchester,
At Best, Twelve Months
(Sun Piper, 2007)

Steven Manchester is the author of 12 books and the screenwriter of several independent films. At Best, Twelve Months is a social story about Don DiMarco, a family man who has just retired. Everything is fine when, one day, he receives devastating news from his doctor and his life changes dramatically: He has only 12 months to live.

This great story is divided into 21 chapters, each one dealing with Don's age-old dreams. At the end of his life's journey the hero becomes wiser and via his actions the readers can think about their own lives and the things they value.

The language is simple and easy to read, the dialogue spontaneous and vivid. Some parts are highly descriptive, packed with adjectives that evoke colorful images, adding to the literary style. The scenes have action and are moving and full of emotions. They invoke feelings of despair, then compassion, love and finally courage to face life as it is.

The characters are everyday people who look real and whom the readers can easily identify with. A believable plot, taken from real life, and truthful characters are the magic ingredients of this great story, which builds in its relation to Don's personal faith. The last chapter involves fantasy aspects that move Don further into the divine. However, the epilogue brings the reader back to reality, thus sealing the end of Don's life for good.

At Best, Twelve Months can inspire and help readers who face similar situations in their lives. It is a story that acts as a medicine for the desperate mind and is worth reading.

by Liana Metal
5 May 2007