In Five Years is a novel about friendship, love, and grief. Lots of grief.
**Warning – below here there be lots of spoilers**
Have you ever ordered a product, only to be disappointed when it arrived because it didn’t match the product description? That’s In Five Years.
Here’s the book jacket description:
“Where do you see yourself in five years?
Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers.
She is nothing like her lifelong best friend—the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content.
But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.”
Sounds like an interesting romance, right? Maybe with a little suspense or the supernatural to rev it up?
But here’s the deal, the “unforgettable love story” is between Dannie and her best friend, Bella. And it’s told within the context of Bella dying from ovarian cancer. There’s a lot about female friendship and emotions and regrets and chemotherapy and vivid Bella wasting away. Totally not what I expected and really nothing I wanted to read about.
But I kept reading because I was intrigued about that one hour Dannie spent in the future and wanted to see how it would play out now that it was five years later. It turns out that the man Dannie woke up to was Bella’s boyfriend, Greg. Bella and Greg had been together less than a year when she died, but they swore they were each other’s soul mates, the loves of each other’s lives. So I found it really odd that Dannie and Greg made out while Bella was on her death bed and then had sex the night of Bella’s Celebration of Life party (this was the event Dannie foresaw five years prior). It was all chalked up to grief. But do people really grieve like that? It was extremely weird to me. I really hope my husband doesn’t grieve like that.
Aside from not being the story I wanted to read, there were some other flaws. For example, the author constantly name-dropped New York City restaurants, boutiques and neighborhoods. I don’t know if that was an attempt to bring the setting “alive,” but after a while it just seemed like snobbery. I really didn’t care that Dannie ate whitefish salad on bagels, let alone which deli she got it from.
As you can probably tell, I didn’t much care for this book. Now, it could be that my own personal biases are at play here. I’m living the life of a terminally ill woman, so I really don’t want to read about it. And I’ve never cared for wild and whimsical characters that flit from partner to partner while blowing through their trust funds. But still, my recommendation is to find something else to read.
Have you read In Five Years? Tell me what you thought in the comments section.