In The Book of Dahlia, Elisa Albert introduces us to Dahlia Finger, a 29 year old slacker from a broken, over-privileged family. Living in a Venice cottage purchased by her father she spends her days smoking pot and watching the same old movies over and over. Her biggest concern at the moment is awaiting the results from the GRE; she took them in the hopes of going back to school even though she had no clue what to do with her life. Then it happened, the moment that would change her life forever, a near fatal seizure. A symptom of a terminal brain tumor in Dahlia’s head.
With the help of “The Book”, a self-help book for cancer patients, she recollects various moments of her life that may hold the answer to why her. We follow Dahlia as she tries to comes to terms with her life, disease and her overwhelming sense of doom from a death sentence. Meanwhile, everybody around her tries to keep a positive attitude for her.
The book was extremely hard to put down but at the same time at some points was hard to read. As I read I couldn’t help but feel for Dahlia and relate to many of the struggles she has as a child, teenager and later as a slacker graduate with no direction. I can easily see why this novel was one of Entertainment Weekly’s top ten fiction picks last year. The sarcastic wit and sadistic humor make it an easy read while the powerful subject matter makes you truly rethink your own mortality.