About Almost Finished

While battling pancreatic cancer, James (Jim) K. Bowen, a poet and English professor, began writing letters to his young daughter, Justine. With the prospect of his probable passing, the collection of letters was intended to accompany her as she grew in adulthood, helping to answer questions and offer support at critical moments in her life. Jim passed away in 1990, when Justine was 6 years old.  

In Almost Finished, Justine uses these letters as the foundation for her memoir, chronicling her father’s death and the first 20 years that followed. As a consequence, the book closely models a call-and-response type narrative, with Jim’s letters creating an almost dialogue between the two as Justine explores the difficulties of losing a parent at such a young age. In a lot of ways, Almost Finished interweaves the story of their two lives, which are forever connected by the enduring and timeless love that exists between a father and his daughter.