Natalie Miller loves her life. Why shouldn't she? She's the top aide to a senator, young and determine and has a great political career ahead of her. The world Natalie carefully built comes crashing down when her doctor informs her, she has breast cancer. In an instant, her live-in boyfriend breaks up with her, her career is in jeopardy and whether she wants to or not, Natalie is forced to reflect on her life as she confronts her own mortality while fighting this life-threatening disease.
As Natalie begins her chemotherapy treatments, she's assigned to Janice, a cancer therapist. Janice encourages her to keep a diary as an outlet for her feelings. As she writes her first journal entry, her mind begins to focus on her recent breakup with Ned. She isn't sure where their relationship went wrong and what caused Ned to finally end things. The more she ponders this, she begins to think about her past boyfriends. A plan then forms: she will revisit her past five loves by tracking down each man to determine what went wrong in their relationship. This is more about self-discovery for Natalie and not to rekindle an old-flame.
I have to admit early on I didn't like Natalie very much. She seemed to be very cold and distant emotionally. She was very power-hungry and would do anything necessary to manipulate the situation in her favor. The more I began to read about Natalie's life and her battle with breast cancer, I slowly started to warm up to her and began to empathize with her.
Keeping busy and focused on work while undergoing chemo is what's keeping Natalie in this fight. Her life is centered around her career. Without that, she wouldn't have anything to live for. This realization to her is powerful as things begin to shift at work and she's no longer viewed as irreplaceable. As Natalie continues journaling and reconnecting with past loves, she begins a transformation that leaves the reader feeling hopeful she will win this battle and will be given a second chance to live her life based on the lessons she has learned.
The Department of Lost & Found is the author's debut novel, which at times I found hard to believe. Not only do I highly recommend this book, I also suggest Time of My Life, her second novel. This summer, The One That I Want will be released.
Year Published: 2007
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Purchased from Borders