‘Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.’
Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating.
Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.
As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.
I was really excited and looking forward to reading this as I’d waited so long but I was left feeling a little flat which I know will horrify some of my readers who have loved this book.
Told from dead narrator Rachel’s perspective we’re privy to her family’s reaction to her death through her ghostly misty appearances; all a bit odd. I actually felt that what was happening to her was quite cruel and tortutous for her and I would hope that none of my loved ones would experience this. If there is some kind of afterlife I’d want it to be a happy place of comfort and this book didn’t feel like that.
As I was I was reading I found the book a bit strange in all honesty. I do like my books to have a sense of realism; a sense that what’s happening could happen and so to be fully engaged in this book you need to believe in some kind of afterlife and I’m not sure that I do.
The book is split into 7 parts: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing and Acceptance which I hadn’t realised whilst I was reading that these are apparently the 7 stages of grief which made sense after I’d finished.
I also found Ellie’s language a little old for her age and I was sick of hearing all the pet names the adults had her for her (munchkin, angel, sweetheart) – sorry!
However, it’s a beautifully written and very heartfelt novel with some stunning passages of writing; just not for me on this occasion.
“It’s not the mortality of the body that’s the real tragedy of the dead. It’s the dissolution of memory. For the dead, to be forgotten is as if never to have lived at all.
But maybe that’s the fate we all face in the end. Not if we’ll be forgotten but, simply, when.”
p.s Did anyone else picture the author Hannah Beckerman as Rachel?
Connect with the author Hannah Beckerman