Life Isn’t Just an Aerosmith Song: How Lucky by Will Leitch

While it’s never a lot of fun to think about, we all know we’re going to exit stage left eventually. Yet death isn’t top of mind on a routine basis for most of us. The Grim Reaper isn’t always an arm’s length away.

But for Daniel, well …. the fragility of life IS his life. And the closer you come to drawing that final breath, the more you might start living on the edge.

Because, why not? Why not engage a possible kidnapper and/or murderer in an email exchange? Why not try to save the day?

In Will Leitch’s “How Lucky“,” out this May, readers are drawn into Daniel’s world, where a young man in his mid-20s plays a tug of war every day with just the day to day, from his home in Athens, Georgia. He’s not morose about it. It is what it is. In fact, despite his terminal, debilitating illness that robs him of the ability to move on his own or speak, he’s got his own place, caring friends and what some people think could be the dream social media job, responding to jerks on Twitter on behalf of the regional airline he works for.

So when he puts two and two together one day, when the girl he sees walking to campus every morning gets in a car and suddenly goes missing, Daniel suddenly finds himself in the middle of a “Where is she and who did this?” adventure with no directions. Just his caretaker Marjani, a hardworking Georgia Bulldogs super fan; and his best friend Travis, who’s been by his side since quite literally almost birth.

Set over the course of a week during football season, the novel’s fast pace will keep you from putting it down. Daniel’s cat-and-mouse game with the possible kidnapper is only half the story — the other half is Daniel’s coming to terms with the inevitable end, which could come at any moment. And the lessons that can be drawn from even a fictional tale where the protagonist wrestles with his mortality are important — living without regret, refusing to back down from a challenge, embracing a little self-deprecation, and mostly, just finding gratitude in each and every day.

I’d wish for a sequel, but I don’t know if I want to think about a world that doesn’t have Daniel shooting the shit with Travis in it, so I’ll have to settle for just this one great read. Great summer book with easy-to-love characters throughout. Pick it up!

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