Inside Our Days
Muriel Press (2020)
Reviewed by Jen Oliver-Rigsby for Reader Views (5/2021)
“Inside Our Days” by Michele Merens introduces readers to Bree Durning and her family, including her psychologist husband, William. Not Bill or Will but William. Bree already fought against ovarian cancer once and won… but now faces it coming back with vengeance. Bree was willing to do everything possible to beat it the first time and now doesn’t seem to want to fight it with as much effort. William is trying to be nothing but supportive, but then Bree leaves home without notice. She flees and asks her sister Claire to assist and remember the good ole days… but were they really all that good?
The characterization of Bree seems realistic. How much does one have left within themselves after surviving ovarian cancer once in order to fight it again? Running away to gather one’s thoughts seems a little dramatic but as for never having to fight this disease, only seeing other’s, this reader does not know what I would do if put in a similar situation. The characterization of William seems a little off. The fact that he’s a psychologist is stated throughout the book and makes it seem like it is a bad thing. William seems to want to support Bree in any way that he can. His diagnosis of her suffering from chronic PTSD is off base but when people are trying to figure out how to help others, they resort to what they know best…his best is trying to diagnosis and “cure.”
The ending left a lot of questions about the relationship between Bree and her sisters, in particular, her relationship with Claire. It hinted to tragic pasts for them both but did not really state what had happened, if anything. The way that the ending was written did not work for this reader. If it were told like the rest of the book, it would have fit better.
Overall “Inside Our Days” by Michele Merens is a look at how one person faces cancer again and what they do in order to survive the news. And how they face their future by looking at the past. Something that a spouse would not necessarily understand.