A MUST READ IF THERE EVER WAS ONE!
If ever a book was predestined to be written by an individual, it’s this one, 50 HOURS. You will indeed find a piece of the author in between each line and the pages of the book. If you can read this novel and not shed a tear, you’re stronger than me. Never in my life have I heard of such a personal story unfold while turning a screenplay into a beautiful story. Loree, healthy at the time she was commissioned to write the novel, was diagnosed with a similar terminal illness as her character while researching and writing the novel. What on earth are the odds of that?
The shocking diagnosis allowed her to write one of her most memorable novels to date. It is not by any means a depressing story that smacks of defeat or worse self-pity, but of all things is a story of redemption, peace, second chances, friendship, forgiveness and of course, LOVE!
The famous novelist Catherine Lanigan (Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile, and a multitude of other works) wrote, “This is the kind of book that wins Pulitzer prizes.” I can’t think of a greater compliment for a literary fiction novel.
Loree, admittedly, found it challenging at times, and early on confessed to Kevin (the screenplay writer and movie producer), that she wasn’t sure if she could handle the story or workload. However, every day for a year and a half, twice-daily chemo, and through a stem cell transplant, Loree could not get the characters out of her head and had the overwhelming desire to finish the novel. Wanting more than ever to show readers whose lives had been touched by this dreaded disease, cancer, that, “There’s always plenty of reason to hope and have something to be thankful for.” – Lorre Lough
The realization that millions of others were facing the same prognosis as her character Aubrey (and herself), convinced her to ‘make-like’ her character Franco and put one foot in front of the other to keep moving forward. It was cathartic, and she hoped it would be for readers—not just cancer patients and their families—too. Loree has always believed she was fairly tough. She lived by the “Never let ‘em see ya sweat” and “Never let ‘em see ya cry” codes, she poured her heart and soul into her characters.
Aubrey, 50 HOURS, is living with the constant knowledge that her life is slowly ebbing to an end, but she’s determined to squeeze as much joy from every precious moment she has left. Still, she’s lonely, exhausted, and no matter how hard she tries to hide it, terrified! Meeting Franco gives Aubrey a thread of hope to grasp onto, as she realizes that her long-held dream of painting autumn, in of all places Savannah, has come true with his help.
Franco, burdened by the belief that he’s partially responsible for the car wreck that killed his wife, turned him into a man who eked out his existence by merely putting one foot in front of the other because he doesn’t know what else to do. After meeting Aubrey, whose zest for life is infectious, his 50 hours of community service tick by, as he finds himself drawn to her strength.
Loree found herself putting words into Aubrey’s mouth, that she’d only ever said in the privacy of her own mind. Talking with her fellow patients proved she wasn’t alone: A lot of cancer patients keep things to themselves. They do it to spare their loved ones, already worried and afraid of an uncertain future, who aren’t entirely sure or know how to comfort their loved ones. Through Aubrey, Loree was able to tell them that she expected nothing, quite literally, except to be with them (her family and friends). It isn’t easy watching someone you care about suffering the side effects of drugs and treatments. Loree, through Aubrey, showed friends and family that she appreciated their steadfastness. Aubrey’s relationship with Franco and her mother helped her make that point.
Her actual research and interviews proved there are far too many “loved ones” like Aubrey’s ex-husband; Michael who put on a good show of being the dutiful spouse…until the condition, like Aubrey’s, deteriorated, taking the spotlight off him and putting it back on her. It’s an ugly fact, but a fact nonetheless: The occasional loved one will leave. Through Aubrey, Loree hoped to show cancer patients and family members alike that they can survive even that!
Loree stated, “Aubrey is, in a whole lot of ways, me. I cracked jokes throughout the entire process: IV needle wouldn’t hit a vein? ‘Just jam it in there.’ I’d tell the nurse, ‘and sooner or later, you’ll strike gold!’ IV pole got stuck on a threshold as I (repeatedly) made trips to the bathroom during infusions? Imitating car motors and horns helped me get (literally) over the hump, and brought smiles to other patients’ faces. Humor has always been my go-to, whether dealing with Lyme Disease, Lupus, or that blasted Black Widow bite on my left butt cheek—all diagnosed in a one-month period. I built that attitude into Aubrey’s character, to help her cope with what would otherwise have been a dismal prognosis. It helped her, Aubrey, deal with her teenage hospice neighbor, Dusty, too. And it helped me, practice what I may face, far, far down the road.” – Loree Lough
To me, this story is one of the most beautifully written pieces I’ve ever read, and I read a lot of books, and manuscripts. In this story, as in her A Man of Honor, Loree aimed to give readers a satisfying ending. An ending that would leave readers feeling the story simply couldn’t—shouldn’t—have ended any other way. Even if it did require a few tissues… Franco is a changed man after he meets Aubrey, but you have to read the book to find out how and why. Loree connected and poured herself into Aubrey. Fans and readers will ‘meet’ a piece of her, no doubt, through the pages of this book. She identified almost as closely with Franco as she did with Aubrey. Since, like most people, there are things in her past that she says she’s not proud of (I can’t imagine), but she says there are things she’d rather keep to herself until St. Peter meets her at the pearly gates. That said, she believes there comes a time in every life when regret must take a back seat to reformation. That unless one hopes to spend the rest of their days looking over their shoulders, whimpering, “I should’ve” or “why didn’t I?” They have to bury their negative sentiments and concentrate on the future…where they should all strive not to repeat their mistakes!
Since the MM diagnosis, she wants to shout from the rooftops and bellow out the words, “I’m big and bad enough to beat your butt, MM!” Loree says more than anything, “I’ve learned I’m even stronger than I’ve ever dreamed of!”
ABOUT BEST-SELLING AUTHOR LOREE LOUGH:
A writer who believes in “giving back,” Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers’ Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations. She splits her time between her home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of lighthouses, wind chimes, and “wolf stuff.”Spreading the word about this book increases the opportunity for it to go to a feature film as Kevin James O’Neill intended. In addition to her other charities, royalties from 50 HOURS go toward Cancer Research.
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation: https://www.themmrf.org/
Loree fan or booklover, definitely, add this one to your reading or gift list!
50 HOURS http://amzn.to/2rYTG2E