Book Review – Forever Young: Blessing or Curse by Morgan Mandel

Forever Young: Blessing or Curse
Morgan Mandel
Release date: December 2011

Middle-aged Dorrie Donato, is newly widowed and realizes she has to find a way to pay outstanding bills from years her husband had been out of work. He had started a new job at the Life is for Living Institute, but he hadn’t worked there long enough for them to pay off the debts from that long financial cold spell.

The book opens with a dramatic punch as Dorrie finds her husband, Larry, dying in the garage parking of the Life is for Living Institute. She calls for help, but it is too late. Larry is dead and she is faced with an uncertain future. Larry’s boss, known as Angel Man, offers Dorrie a job and an opportunity to be the first person to take the Forever Young pill. This is the project her husband had been working on, and Angel Man knows Larry would approve. The pill could take her back in years and she could remain 24 forever. 

In desperation she takes the pill and agrees to be the spokeswoman for the company, telling everyone what a wonderful opportunity Life for Living is offering to people – The Fountain of Youth. 

In time, Dorrie discovers that Angel Man’s interest in her is not coming purely from a good heart. She also starts to see evidence that there are problems with the pill and realizes that her husband knew about the problems. Was his death really an accident?

The mystery and intrigue in the story are strongly plotted and readers will be kept guessing until the very end.  And even then, the guessing can go on beyond the story. I suspect we will be hearing more about Dorrie in the future.

The strongest writing is in the sections where the author shows the reader what is happening. That opening is one of them. The myriad of emotions that Dorrie experiences when she sees ” A limp object lay sprawled in the parking lot where Dorrie was to meet her husband” are ones that any woman can relate to when something terrible happens to the person they love.

There were other places, however, where there was more telling than showing, and I would skim those sections quickly to get back to the action. I also had just a bit of a problem hanging in with Dorrie when she made some choices in her personal life. I thought the grief she would be working through after losing her husband should have had more emphasis in the story. Perhaps that is because I have worked so long as a hospital chaplain and have seen how overwhelming grief can be. Especially in a relationship as strong as the one Dorrie had with Larry.

That is purely a subjective opinion, however. I still enjoyed the story and would recommend the book to folks who like a quick, easy read with a fresh new concept and some good writing.

FTC Disclaimer – The author sent me a copy of the book for possible review, and I told her straight up that I would only review it if I thought it was well done and worthy of a review. Not that my reviews mean anything in the great scheme of things, but I really hate to have to say too many negative things about a person’s work. I also did not receive any compensation for this review, nor do I expect to, unless the New York Times would like to buy it for a filler.

NOTE: Please come back on Wednesday when Morgan Mandel will be my guest and share an excerpt from the book.

12 thoughts on “Book Review – Forever Young: Blessing or Curse by Morgan Mandel”

  1. That’s an honest take on the story, Maryann. We writers constantly drill into each others’ heads the mantra, “show, don’t tell,” but most good novels have plenty of both.

  2. Norm, I wrote reviews for several suburban newspapers and a major newspaper in Dallas for a number of years. A true, professional review is what I still like to do. While I can sometime just be a fan and gush about a book in conversations, I seem to fall into that professional mode when I start writing a review.

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