Dying Young

by Marti Leimbach

Hilary Atkinson: Lovely peron, takes care of Victor, gives up her Job, falls in love with Victor, good - natured, willing, has an affaire with Gordon, is a kleptomaniac

Victor Geddes: has leukemia, is going to die, refuses hospital treatment, moves to Hull, loves Hilary, welleducated, smart, loves books, often loses his temper,

Gordon: Hilary’s lover, young man, who is very rich, lives with his parents

The book "Dying Young" is about an aimless young woman who answers a classified ad and becomes the nurse and companion to a 28 year old man who is suffering from leukemia; needless to say, they fall in love and spend a winter in a small fishing town, trying to forget what lies ahead.
Victor Geddes gets to know that he is going to die of leukemia soon. He is a young man who refuses hosptal treatment because he doesn’t really believe in it. He decides to move to Hull, Massachusetts, with his girlfriend Hilary Atkinson, who first is a nurse who looks after him.
Victor flees from his father of rather moreover from his request and advice to continue the therapy and to stay in hospital. But Victor is determined not to undergo the therapy again. In Hull Victor and Hilary live in an old house with an old woman, Misses Birkle, as their neighbour who lives downstairs. She is a friendly lady who helps whenever she can. It is also in Hull where Hilary meets Gordon for the first time. Gradually she is falling in love with him. They start having an affaire and they secretly meet while Victor is asleep. Although Hilary loves Gordon, she still tends to love Victor. Her feeling are somehow split.
One day Mister Geddes, Victor’s father, knocks on the door. He has found them because of the stamp on Hilary’s letter. The reason why she wrote to him is because she wanted him to know that his son was still alive. This evening, there is a big fight between Mister Geddes and Victor. Mister Geddes still wants his son to continue the therapy but Victor refuses again. He finally has his way.
Then the evening comes where Estelle Whittier, Gordon’s aunt, wants them to go with her to an auction. There Estelle wants to find a wedding present for her ex - housemaid, Annabelle. Because Victor knows about such things - besides his good taste - Estelle wants especially him to come with her. At this event Victor gets to know that Hilary steals things as a habit. For some reason Victor finds it amusing.
Days later Estelle gives a Christmas party in her big house. Mr Geddes, his son and Hilary are all invited to come. During the party Hilary can’t find Victor. When she finds him, he is leaning against the wall, his head tilted up and his eyes closed. The toilet is full of vomit. He is an a wretched plight because four guys have assaulted him and stolen his wallet, his watch and other personal things. Victor’s condition is very bad. He decides to drive home alone, even though Hilary wants to see him home. Later as Hilary comes home she smells gas in the hallway. Victor wants to commit suicide. He tells Hilary that he has great pains and that he can t stand it anymore. Then he says that he is happy that she and Gordon have an affair. (With the time Victor and Gordon have become friends.) Finally Victor tells her to leave. He sees Hilary to her car and then he goes back to the apartment’s oak door. It takes him an awfully long time to stand and go inside, but he goes.

Personal opinion:
I liked this book very much. It is very interesting in a special way. But it was not exciting. Perhaps that is just the way it should be because it is not a thriller or a detective story. It is well written and I believe that Leimbach is good at describing moments of passion and intense feeling. He never exaggerates important or unimportant scenes. I liked the touching parts of the book best. In particular the end when Victor talks to Hilary and later when he walks back into the house again. It is so sad and touching that I was depressed almost a whole day. I was thinking :" Why did Victor not go to hospital ?" But then I asked myself :" Would you want to live when you really suffer from great pains and the hospital perhaps cannot help you ?!" After all I am not sure which decision I would take. Anyway it is a very touching scene.
The book was also very easy to read except some words. In general I would say that this book or this story is still important and meaningful even today. It is a good example how to love and how to care out each other.

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