When I Die, Take My Panties is a wake-up call about the personal transformation that can come from tragedy and what can be learned along the way. Jennifer takes us through her journey of her mother dying from ovarian cancer in 2011. Death forced her to face a harsh reality: So often you want to control life – and the truth is you can’t. To find true peace, you must come to terms with people and situations as they are, not as you wish them to be. When I Die, Take My Panties takes the reader through a journey of discovering the gifts in their own life as they learn how to appreciate what is right in front of them.
Coken’s debut memoir provides a close-up and, at times, funny view of dealing with the illness and death of her mother while her own life continued on. Her chronicle of her mother’s ovarian cancer is dotted with emotional retellings of key moments throughout their relationship, including a cross-country road trip, the support her mom offered her while Coken was getting a divorce, and the last night they got to spend together; both big and small moments carry meaning in Coken’s life. The depth of this memoir comes from the way her relationship with her mother grew and the closeness she developed with her stepfather, but the focus remains on Coken’s feelings and thoughts as she comes to terms with letting go. Unfortunately, the book shifts quickly from one point or scene to the next with little flow and the story feels disjointed. Coken’s friends are often introduced at random, and many of her conversations feel redundant or don’t contribute to the bigger issues she’s trying to tackle. The relatable content and all-too-familiar story line make this an easy book to engage with, though, and Coken’s honesty is genuine. Those who take the time to journey with Coken will likely find comfort and a lesson at the end, much as she found through her experiences. (BookLife)