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The story is told over a period of 30 days, hence the title, and starts on Day 30. On day 30 a man jumps out the window of a mental hospital. Each chapter then takes you through the events of each day leading up to the jump. The reader can see that the man is having hallucinations which involve his stepdaughter Marina. She comes to “visit” him and reads to him from a book that he gave her when she was a child. Gradually we learn that Marina has been killed in a car accident involving the car that the man had given her, his last gift to her. Through the man’s internal dialogue we learn that he is tortured by the knowledge that he spent the last 10 years giving gifts to Marina and her mother Ella but not giving of himself. He was obsessed with making money so that he could buy them the gifts. As he looks back, he sees how his wife and daughter have gone from being two people with a passion for their business to two people with no passion and a desire only for things. He has also been hiding the truth about his job and finances from Ella and Marina. Finally, it becomes apparent that he was involved in an embezzling scheme which led to the bankruptcy of the company he worked for and the loss of thousands of dollars of investor money.
This is the story of one man’s downfall and how that downfall came about. When you get to Day 1 you finally see the pivotal choice that the man made that set into motion all of the proceeding events. The book also demonstrates the destructive power of greed. The man made choices that were motivated by his desire for more money and not the desire to build relationships with his loved ones. The author stresses the deterioration of his relationships more than anything else throughout the narrative.
I found this book to be very enjoyable and hard to put down even though the subject matter was not happy. The writing style just draws you in and the unique format kept me wanting to read the next page. The exploration of 30 days out of a man’s life was truly inspired. This work was also beautifully translated from the original in Spanish. I understand that this author has other books in Spanish and I hope that they will also be translated because I would love to read more of her work.
I’m giving this book 4 out of 4 stars. It was a great read and I highly recommend it.
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