A study on the value of human life over human existence as a man's lifelong plans are dramatically affected when his wife is diagnosed with a terminal illness. 'So Much For That' follows the personal trials of Shep Knacker, a handyman and small business owner, and his struggle to cope as his lifelong dream to retire early and move with his family to Africa is dramatically compromised.
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With over a million dollars in the bank, and the plane tickets in is hand, he arrives home to surprise his wife with the good news, only to learn that she is dying of terminal cancer.
The fallout begins almost immediately as the race to keep her alive quickly takes over their world. The rare nature of her disease means she requires specialist treatment, none of which is covered by any insurance they may or may not have. So begins Shep's ordeal of watching the bills rack up, while his wife slowly wastes away, along with his life's savings.
While Shep is placed in the difficult position of prolonging his wife's life, He knows, that sooner or later both she and his nest egg will be gone. He faces the dilemma of having to decide the value of her final months over his final years, and frantically calculating what will be left for him after she has gone.
Other family dramas form the sub plot, and as more life expenses present themselves, we see Shep start to implode from the pressure of family expectation, the pursuit of personal fulfillment and the anger at a social system that has failed him.
Best part of story, including ending:
The book is a revealing study of the American health care system, and a harrowing account of one man's struggles with the biggest issues we face around life and death. It's honest and complex approach gives the reader much food for thought and a sense of the powerlessness Shep lives with as the drama unfolds.
Best scene in story:
Shep's best friend Jackson undergoes non essential elective surgery that is not successful. After a great deal of complication, he takes matters into his own hands and deals with the botched surgery himself. This scene really helped me to feel Shep's rage at his own overall situation as the enormous irony that exists between his situation and Jackson's is exposed.
Opinion about the main character:
Shep invokes frustration on a number of occasions as he seems unable to clearly recognise his priorities and tackle those that are complicating his situation.