Published January 31, 2017
St. Martin’s Press
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I more than just liked, “I Liked My Life”, I LOVED it!!
From the very first sentence I was hooked!
Madeline (Maddy) tells us…..
“I found the perfect wife for my husband” and “Recruitment is the least I can do”
You see Maddy is not among the living anymore, but she’s not exactly gone either. She is somewhere not here. Her life is just out of reach. At first she wonders if she’s in purgatory.
“The Last World sits unceremoniously like a movie screen below me. There’s no spirit offering guidance”
She senses that this isn’t her last stop. She feels like there is a world beyond where she is right now, but she doesn’t see a path yet. There is just space and time….
So for now she’s going to make the best of it. And that’s where finding someone perfect for her husband, Brady comes in. However, she’s not just looking for someone to make her husband happy. She’s looking for someone to help her teenage daughter, Eve too. She doesn’t feel like she can move on or find peace until she fixes things for her family.
Then Maddy spots Rory. Cool, calm, level-headed, lovely and she even likes to cook. Rory has the patience of a saint, from what Maddy can see. However, Rory has a lot going on in her life and has suffered through her own devastating loss. Maddy feels that Eve and Rory will be able to relate to each other. She’s convinced that Rory is perfect for Brady and Eve and that they are perfect for her.
“This woman is my chance to make things right. My family deserves more than I left them”
*** Possibly very minor spoilers ahead. Usually things that are already mentioned in the description or within the first few pages of the book.***
Maddy was a devoted and loving wife and mother. So what could possibly have made her take her life?
When we first meet Maddy’s daughter, Eve, we can see right away how hard she is grieving. She’s thinking about the fact that it’s Mother’s Day but that it’s no longer a holiday for her. She’s also thinking about how bad her father is at this parenting thing without her mom there to tell him what to do. Eve and Brady have been at each others throats lately and without Maddy there to smooth things over, things only seem to be getting worse.
Eve spends a lot of time on her own. Her friends don’t know how to deal with someone who is mourning the loss of a parent. They either ignore it or go completely overboard. Her friend, Kara is a drama queen who even made a spectacle of herself at Eve’s mother’s funeral, crying as if she lost her own mother. Eve also feels incredibly guilty about how she thinks she treated her mother. She feels horrible about every time she may have forgotten to say thank you or every time she interrupted her and so many other things she may have said or not said to her mother. She wonders if it’s her fault.
She doesn’t know how she’ll make it without her mother.
Then there’s Maddy’s husband, Brady. Brady is lost in his own grief (and glasses of bourbon). He cannot believe Maddy is dead, that she jumped off a building. He had no idea that anything was wrong. Even the last text she sent him was benign, something about how to fit everyone for Easter dinner. Why would she ask about dinner and then kill herself? Psychologists try to tell him that suicide can often be impulsive, especially in cases like Maddy’s, but Brady calls bull on all of that.
But why did she do it? How could she leave them?
Brady is so caught up in what he’s going through that he’s not aware of how much his daughter is suffering, and how much she needs him.
Brady and Eve attempt to work their way through a grief so unimaginable. At times they are almost positive they can feel her presence. Brady thinks he hears her laugh and Eve even feels like her mother’s comforting her at times. When Brady finds Maddy’s journal, both him and Eve cling to it, hoping they will find the answers in her private thoughts.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought how the story was told from multiple points of view worked very well. I LOVED how Maddy “communicated” with people from her perch/eye in the sky. Finding out how everything came to the point it did. The characters and relationships felt very genuine. Oh did this book ever make me emotional. A few times I had to stop reading just to go hug my daughter….or call my mother. But it wasn’t all sad, there were many lighthearted moments. Both Eve and Maddy were quite witty, with some great one-liners. I grew very attached to these characters and their stories. There was a lot going on and although some parts were unexpected, I thought it all fit together very well.
In my opinion, this was a fantastic novel. A story about love and loss, life and death, and above all healing and forgiveness. One of the best debut novels I’ve read.
Please hurry and write more for me to read, Abby Fabiaschi. I can’t wait!
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.