Daisy Sugarbush is not your average girl. She rather be fixing cars and unclogging toilets with her father than staying at home with her mother learning how to cook and clean. She always thought she should have been born a boy as anything domesticated surely did not interest her. Daisy could never reach her mother’s high standards in learning how to be the perfect wife and mother. All the wisdom she learned, she learned through her father. Her father was her anchor up until he became sick, succumbing to cancer shortly after. Even though her father is gone, she still carries out his domestic chores. However, all of that changes in an instant with one single mistake. Daisy is in an explosion and over seventy percent of her body is badly burned and she is left disfigured and blind.
Life in the burn unit is not what Daisy wants. She has no control over her treatment and the decisions about her life are made as if she is not there. Therapy is painful and all Daisy wants is to die, but no one is listening to her. Her medical team does not consult her and Daisy feels like she is being treated as if she is too stupid to make decisions about her quality of life or lack thereof. I had a really hard time with my own emotions getting through Daisy’s time in the burn unit. I can sympathize with the pain and suffering that she is going through and I can understand why she wants to end things, but at the same time emotions and pain are ruling her thought process. Honestly, if I put myself in her shoes I would want to end things too, not only because of the pain and the suffering, but also because I would not want to be a burden to my family.
"Death was like a destination. It was a matter of not being any more. How could I be unhappy if I didn’t exist? How could I have any feelings at all?"
What really brought this story close to home for me was my grandfather. He was badly burned in a fire and like Daisy, over seventy percent of his body was burned. I was young when this happened, but growing up I can see what he went through and how hard it was for him to do daily chores or even function like he did before the fire. He loved life though and was grateful to be alive. He did eventually pass due to complications, but he lived his life to the fullest with no regrets.
End of life is such a hot topic right now. It is so debatable, but should critically injured or terminally ill patients be in control over their own destiny? It is surely what Daisy wanted, but no one gave her that choice at least not in the hospital. Daisy was still determined though and planned on ending her life once she was released. She considered herself a freak, too ugly to show herself to the world. She felt as if she was damaged and unloveable. It takes one determined therapist and a mothers love to show Daisy that life could still be worth living even in the face of such adversity. Will Daisy learn how to love herself and let others love her in return or is her mind already made up?
"Life is a precious thing, Daisy, and often as not, it doesn’t turn out the way we wanted. Yours certainly didn’t. But you’re here now with family and friends, people who love you, and that means something.
“Every moment we draw breath, it’s special, it’s a gift. That’s how I feel about it. Maybe it doesn’t make sense, but it’s the best I can do."
There are so many wonderful things that I can say about Daisy’s Choice by Mike Owens, but the heart of the story speaks for itself. It is filled with raw emotion and sadness, but, it is also filled with hope. Daisy has been through so much in her young life more than what most people can endure twice her age. It is sad seeing someone so young go through such a terrible tragedy.
Daisy’s Choice pulled me in right from the very first page. Mike Owens really is a talented and gifted writer and makes you feel as if you are part of the story. He paints a picture for us filled with vivid imagery and prose that is almost poetic. The story is just beautifully written. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Daisy’s Choice has earned the right to be on my keeper shelf. I just want to warn you that if you choose to read this story that you have tissues nearby because you will find yourself crying just like I did.
I want to thank Reading Alley and Mike Owens for allowing me to read Daisy’s story. I am truly moved.