Friday, June 01, 2018

Grief Novel Poignant and Engaging

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Maddy Starling may have left her family, but she can't quite leave them alone.  Even as a ghost, she worries about her workaholic husband and their grief-stricken 16-year-old daughter, Eve.  Without Maddy there to bridge the gap, to keep the household running and manage everyone's emotions, what will become of her fractured family?  The least she can do is find a replacement for herself, someone who can be a companion to Brady and a loving mentor for Eve.  She thinks she may have found the perfect woman in Rory Murray, an elementary school teacher who's tutoring Eve.  Is Rory, who comes with her own baggage, really a suitable stand-in?  Can Maddy somehow "push" her and Brady together?

In the meantime, Brady and Eve have to learn how to cope without the wife and mother who's always held them together.  Neither one can quite grasp the fact that Maddy—the most put together woman either of them has ever known—committed suicide, purposely leaving them behind.  It makes no sense.  Reading Maddy's diary brings some answers, but also more questions.  Why would someone like Maddy jump off a building, ending what seemed like a perfect life?  In order to rebuild their shattered lives, Brady and Eve must come to terms with what happened on that rooftop and learn to forge a new future for themselves.  Can they find their way, even as Maddy's influence grows more and more difficult to assert?  Can Maddy, Brady, and Eve figure out how to move on, even when all they want is to go back to the way things were?  

I'm known for writing honest reviews, but Jenny over at Alternate Readality takes the art to a whole new (and often hilarious) level, so when she raves about a book, I pay attention.  She recently recommended I Liked My Life, a debut novel by Abby Fabiaschi, which I also ended up enjoying.  While I didn't love the book quite as much as Jenny did, I agree that it features solid writing, intriguing characters, and a plot that kept me turning pages.  The story feels raw and real, but it's also funny and hopeful.  All of the main characters are complex, sympathetic, and interesting, which makes it easy to root for their happiness.  Fabiaschi even throws in some plot twists to keep things interesting.  All in all, then, I Liked My Life makes for an engaging, thought-provoking read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, mild sexual content, and depictions of underage drinking

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

8 comments:

  1. Phew! I’m glad you liked it. Nothing worse than raving about a book and then no one else likes it.

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  2. Odd that she committed suicide, but still wants to be involved with her family's life. This sounds good though.

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  3. Yes, I agree with Helen - odd - and, of course, being me, I kept thinking 'was it suicide?'. Guess this is not a thriller though, so...

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  4. This is one of those books I have seen a lot - recognize the cover but didn't pay attention too. Sounds like I need to add it to the TBR. Greta review!

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  5. Oh this sounds good! I like the cover and the blurb is definitely intriguing. The suicide definitely sounds out of character so I have some questions! Great review!

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  6. oh wow this looks so promising, I think I have this so will hopefully get to this on my TBR

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  7. I have this one on my list to read this summer. (Along with about 100 other books!) I'm glad to know it's a book worth keeping on the list. :)

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  8. This one sounds interesting, but the topic matter is a little too close to home so I don't think I'm going to read it.

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