REVIEW: I LIKED MY LIFE By Abby Fabiaschi

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From Goodreads

Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch…until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How can they possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

 

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I actually like the blurb above, it says just enough but not too much in terms of plot. I have to say, this book almost got returned to the library unread  (it’s a week late…oops) if it wasn’t for some passionate reviews from other bloggers on Goodreads, especially Deanna’s from  Deesradreadsandreviews. Of course, I now know I would’ve seriously kicked myself had I returned this unread because it ended up ticking all of my favorite boxes for what I look for in an unputdownable read.

The story begins with Maddy , who from the Afterlife, is on the lookout for a replacement wife for her husband and fill in mother for her teenage daughter after her sudden death by suicide. What we quickly discover is Maddy seems remarkably decisive, rational, and witty yet is also heartbroken to have to watch her family suffer because of her actions. How could someone who so desperately tries to communicate with her husband and daughter have chosen to leave them by killing herself? These questions and so many, many others haunt Maddy’s husband Brady and her 17 year old daughter Eve. Through their painful and strained grief, both Eve and Brady are forced to learn how to navigate each other and life without Maddy, the glue that held their family together.

Now I don’t want you to think this is a “downer” of a book because it’s actually the complete opposite. This is an ultimately uplifting story of forgiveness…of oneself and others…of vulnerability…of finding light amongst the darkness…and of love…finding it as well as losing it. The narration is brilliantly told with alternating chapters between Maddy, Eve and Brady which enable us to get to know each character so well I began to think of them as real. Seriously, I wanted to give all three of them a swift kick at different points because sometimes the pain they caused each other was palpable to me! Yes, tissues were needed. Then, there were other times the humor and sarcasm was so touching and funny I laughed out loud. The way this was all achieved was the compelling, engaging writing style of the author. The best way I can describe how the writing felt to me is …effortless. It flowed with such a quiet intensity that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and by the time I reached the halfway mark, I finally looked up to see it was 1:00am!   I love when that happens and I LOVED this book. Will Eve and Brady come to terms with and get the answers they so desperately seek about Maddy’s death? You’re going to have to read to find out and I’m pretty confident you’ll be happy you did…this is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in the past year!

5/5 Stars 

THROWBACK THURSDAY: MY MOST MEMORABLE TEARJERKERS…PART I

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it

This week I decided to change things up and have a Throwback topic that features some of the most memorable books that have made me cry over the years.  It’s not often that I come across a book that moves me to tears (or sobs) so when I do those tend to stay with me. I think it takes something special on the part of an author to be able to evoke such strong emotions in a reader.

My crying picks for this week: 

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Published 2005 by Hatchette Books

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Holly couldn’t live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other’s sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!

**I just loved Holly and her love story…and this is one case where I thought the movie was just as good as the book**

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Published 2012 by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. 

**Funny, witty, charming, and heartbreaking…if you haven’t met Lou you’re missing out on such a well-written character**

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Published 2009 by Hodder & Stoughton

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another.
Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

Twenty years, two people, one day. 

**Oh this book…what a phenomenal love story and with a twist I never saw coming that literally shocked me and made me a little mad at the author…I recovered and have since forgiven David Nicholls:)**

 

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Published 2008 by Harper Collins

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it. 

**You don’t have to be a dog lover to appreciate the message that sweet Enzo has to share. Of course, if you are a dog lover and/or owner as I am, you’ll most likely put this book at the top of your favorites pile!**

Well that’s a good start to some of my most memorable tearjerkers, stop back next Thurs for Part II, including the book that led to my biggest sob-fest EVER! 

What books have reduced you to tears? Please share in my comments! I’m always looking for more tearjerkers to add to my TBR:)