Publisher: Abalos Publishing
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Pages: 326 Pages
Dying isn’t just hard on the ones left behind, the regret of unfinished lives weighs heavily on the terminally ill. That’s where Dire’s Club steps in, a specialty travel agency that takes a small group of dying people on one final adventure-so they can be free of guilt, be more than a diagnosis, and find a way to confront life…and death.
Life Coach Charlotte Claybrooke built a successful second career guiding people out of grief, but the impending tenth anniversary of her own heart-wrenching tragedy sets her on a journey to find life among the dying.
Staring death in the face was Jimmy Dire’s business. He met it with a warm hug, a kind word, and a smile. Dire’s Club gave the terminally ill one final, bucket-list adventure before passing on, but dying was expensive. The bills, like Jimmy’s lies, were piling up. It’s only a matter of time before he’s forced to face a different type of death.
A rock god, a telenovela star, a grandmother living her life-long dream, and a young tech genius round out this group of strangers facing death together. But when tragedy strikes, their bond is shattered. Lies and fraud surface, forcing the dying to come together to save someone’s life.
Everybody dies. The lucky ones have fun doing it.
Clueless Gent’s Rating for Dire’s Club
Dire’s Club is a story about a group of strangers who draw close together due to their common denominator: they’re all dying. I initially thought the story was like a contemporary Fantasy Island episode, but it actually goes much deeper.
For a number of reasons that come out later in the story, Jimmy Dire begins a business that provides a last grand adventure to terminally ill people. In a little play on words, Jimmy’s Dire’s Club is for people who are dying, or diers as he calls them.
Jimmy’s latest group of diers run the gamut of dire circumstances. There’s an aging rock star with a pickled liver, a young Hispanic celebrity being eaten up by cancer, an older woman with the start of Alzheimer’s, a twenty-something mathematical prodigy, with his own successful software company, who has an inoperable brain tumor, and one other.
This probably seems like a story about death – and it certainly is – but more so a story about a group of people struggling to live whatever time they have left to the fullest. Considering the morbid subject matter and inherent sadness, I think the author did a good job trying to keep the overall tone somewhat uplifting, as well as injecting a small amount of humor.
People at this stage of their lives, with their remaining days being somewhat numbered, typically reflect on their lives – their regrets and successes. They also tend to be more open with their secrets. The author does a deep-dive into their thoughts and interactions as they participate in grand adventures.
“The past was simply for viewing. A movie she could watch a million times in her mind, but there’d be no changing the script.”
At times, the author wrote profound prose: “When you start to lose everything that defined you, it makes you ask who you really are.” I can best describe these as clarifying moments of regret. There were a number of them, and I thought them all heartfelt.
The author certainly did not go overboard on physical description. However, it was not entirely absent. In describing the aroma of an evening in an African jungle, the author wrote, “The smells were a cacophony of animal musk, rotting vegetation, and the sweet notes of fruit and flowers.”
In addition to a bit more description, I also think there could be more show versus tell. The third person narrator truly got a workout in this story. As such, I found it hard to really immerse myself in the story. However, given the subject matter, that might not be a bad thing.
After the end of the story, the author discusses how hard it was to write it. I can really believe that. When putting yourself in the mindsets of these desperate people, I can only imagine how truly depressing that must be. The saddest part, however, is that there are people in this world actually facing the same things as these characters.
For a story about death – and about the dying trying to live – it was told very well. There is more to the story than I mention here, such as a criminal trial, as well as the story behind that “one other” person in the group. To learn more, you’ll have to read the story.