Oh my goodness, let me tell you about a 2017 Goodreads Award nomination that just blew me away. I can’t believe there isn’t more buzz around this book because it surprised me so hard. Dang.
Here’s more about the book
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 they can 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.
Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge…but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?
Ok so I went into this book a little miffed. While I was intrigued by the story, I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood to read another books about grief and loss. I had just finished a book on the same subject.
But the moment I started reading, things changed. First, I was intrigued by the different points of view. Each chapter goes over the thoughts and feelings of all three main characters; Maddy, Eve, and Brady. I thought there would be some disconnection, but it flowed so well together. It was like watching an intricate quilt being made.
That might be an over exaggeration, but I was so impressed by the tone. Abby Fabiaschi conveys in this book. She’s able to seamlessly slip from motivational mother to disassociated teen to workaholic father. She sounded like all three separate characters with different feelings and reactions. It’s really astounding that I surprised myself when a reaction a character had didn’t happen. Dang.
The story begins with Maddy trying to find her suitable replacement for her role in her daughter and husband’s life. At first I was terribly weirded out by this because who searches for their replacement in the after life. It goes double for someone who just committed suicide leaving no note and no reasons for taking her own life.
This is what made this story interesting. You have Maddy working from the afterlife to take care of her family. As she makes strides to help her family resolve their questions and find answers, Madeline finds herself moving further and further away from her family and down that great white light in the sky.
What intrigued me was the feelings Eve and Brady have about Maddy’s death. Eve talks about how she lost her best friend and only ally in her life. She goes on about how lonely and abandoned she feels and how her behavior may have been the reason why Maddy died. The same goes for Brady who is the classic workaholic husband that doesn’t appreciate his spouse and takes what she does for granted.
This is what happens when you die and you leave no explanations on why you decided to kill yourself. No note means no explanation means that you comb your brain over every single detail you shared with the deceased looking for answers that you can’t find.
And this is what I loved about this book. There was no shrug and moving on from this mess. There was no letting the past be in the past and only think of the great things that person did. It’s a lot of questions that will just never be answered. Because Abby Fabiaschi is so good at separating her characters, the reactions and the pain and their emotions were so realistic and defined. Each character was their own and responsible for their own actions.
The real kicker had to be the ending. I could tell that the end would definitely surprise us or give us some explanation on why she killed herself and Abby Fabiaschi totally delivered. The ending left me with my jaw on the ground and while I hoped to see what happened with Maddy in the afterlife, it didn’t matter and I was completely okay with that. Even the epilogue was incredible with a completely unpredictable ending (or at least it was to me).
Throughout the story, a lot of questions are asked mostly to find understanding and closure from the kind of death that leaves a lot of people wondering. Maddy looking on and helping her family find closure also appears to be her way of moving forward and gaining that sense of understanding.
- Paperback, 288 pages
- St Martin’s Griffin, May 8, 2018
- My Rating: 5/5 stars
I received a copy of this book from St Martin’s Griffin for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.