this review was originally posted on goodreads on 05/25/2013.
To Die Upon a Kiss is a difficult novel to read. This is a grownup book with grownup topics that can be shocking and, in the wrong hands, can turn into farce, a deliberate ploy, or trite condescension. In Craig Wallwork’s hands they turn into a beautifully written visit to six months in the life of Sadler Truman.
Sadler knows, almost to the hour, when he’s going to die. He knows how he’s going to die. He knows why he’s going to die. What he doesn’t know is how to live. The six months we spend with him as he develops his relationship with Prudence are painful and heartbreaking. As Sadler drifts from event to event in his life we watch, we wait, we wonder.
Is it better to know the truth or to live in ignorance? Is it better to act or to sit, passive and unresistant, and let your life evolve around you? Is it better to love or to remain aloof, sequestered from the inevitable pain that opening your heart and soul to another can bring? Craig Wallwork subtly asks these questions not only of his main character but of his readers as well. He leaves the answers for us to discover, if we’re brave enough to spend the time.