Tomorrow is the day I’m going to die.
I don’t mean to get all dramatic about it.
I saw this book while Christmas shopping and I just couldn’t resist buying it for myself. I love gallows humor and this book certainly didn’t disappoint. Of course, the fact that Denton Little’s Still Not Dead was shelved right next to it reassured me how the first book would end.
Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days—the day of his senior prom.
Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle—as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. (Though he’s not totally sure—see, first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters. . . . Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.
Denton Little’s Deathdate from Amazon.
Poor Denton. Imagine trying to fit so many firsts into a time period that means they will also be your lasts. But Denton doesn’t have time to feel sorry for himself. When he wakes up hung over (on Schnappes no less, barf) and alone in a bed that isn’t his just two days before his Death Day does he lay there dwelling on it? No. He pulls himself together in a way only a person who understands that time is truly limited can.
As Denton tries to replay the prior evening he gets more and more confused. Watching him try to piece everything back together with his best friend Paolo are some of the funniest moments in the book. I mean, who amongst us has been either hung over, confused about what has happened to their life, or both? But Denton doesn’t have time to ponder or leave these things unresolved. He only has two days.
Certainly, with the discussion of death there must be some poignancy. Even though in Denton’s world nearly everyone knows their Death Day from an early age, there is still uncertainty as to how it will happen and exactly when during the day your death will occur. That small amount of unknown creates the panic that we all feel when we contemplate death – how do we want to be remembered? How will we spend those last precious few moments?
And I must mention that watching his step-mother deal with loosing her son was difficult for me. This changed the book from a straight humor book to something with more depth and I was frequently sad for her (after all, she doesn’t know about the second book!). What kept it from being too maudlin was my excitement in seeing her reaction when Denton survived.
There was romance, mystery, intrigue and humor. But the best part was the pure loveliness that is Denton. As a character I just really liked him. He loved his family, was connected to his friends and community, and at such a young age was a genuinely good person. I can hardly wait to see how his adventure will continue in the next book.
Tell me, please!
Do you enjoy Gallows Humor?