His hundredth birthday finds Murray McBride without a reason to live. A chance encounter with a ten-year-old boy in the hospital changes everything. Jason Cashman has a terminal heart defect. When the boy leaves behind a wish list of five “impossible” things to do before he dies, Murray finds himself with a mission.
The plot of Joe Siple’s The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride hinges on the clever—and sometimes heartbreaking—ways that Murray and Jason check off the list of wishes. But what really drives the novel is the relationship between the young boy and the old man. Tiegan, a young girl who accompanies the pair on their adventure, adds a wonderful dynamic. Siple pins the voice of his characters perfectly. (The email exchanges between Murray and Jason are laugh-out-loud funny.)
Terminal friendships can be familiar territory, but Siple has a way of making the familiar new again. One scene near the novel’s climax involving Murray and Tiegan left me in tears. Siple’s book is a wonderful, heartfelt read. My highest recommendation. (Five stars out of five)