Book Review: Cheap Cabernet

Cheap Cabernet: A FriendshipCheap Cabernet: A Friendship by Cathie Beck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cheap Cabernet is a memoir of the author’s relationship with her best friend Denise who has multiple sclerosis. Cathie and Denise have a very close but tumultuous relationship. The author hints very early on in the book that Denise is no longer living. Upon finishing the book, the first thing I wondered was if Cathie had Denise or Denise’s relatives’ blessing when she wrote this book. Denise has a quite a few personality flaws and the author lays them out bare. She also recounts some embarrassing moments of Denise’s, like when Denise’s MS got so bad that she couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time and recounts other private moments she and Denise shared. I felt very uncomfortable on Denise’s behalf most of the time while I was reading. If Denise herself had written the book or approved of it in some way, I think I would have felt differently.

All of that notwithstanding, this was a nicely written chronicle of a friendship between two very different women. I suffer from a chronic illness myself so I could relate to Denise’s stoicism and frustration while facing her disease. Caregivers and friends of those with a chronic illness will no doubt relate to Cathie really wanting to help her friend and yet being helpless most of the time.

(I received this book courtesy of the publisher and the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.)

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