Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Julie's Review: I Liked My Life

Author: Abby Fabiaschi
Series: None
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 272
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Not at all what I expected but in the best way possible
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: A story from debut author Abby Fabiaschi that is "as absorbing as it is illuminating, and as witty as it is heartbreaking." 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?

 Review: I Liked My Life is not all that it seems. The story is told from 3 different perspectives: Maddy, Eve and Brady; whom each bring their own voice to the story. Obviously the question at the heart of the novel is, why would Maddy, who seemingly had the "perfect" life, kill herself? What did her whole family miss? Was she unhappy and really good at hiding it? These are the things that Brady and Eve are left to figure out.

Brady is a class A asshole (pardon the French). He took his wife for granted, never thought what she did was worth asking about and pretty much worked all the time. Maddy even had to convince him to take time off every year for a vacation. It was always their biggest annual fight. So as Brady reads through Maddy's journals, he realizes that maybe things weren't as good as he thought they were. Maybe he was a bit neglectful.

Eve is left reeling and closing herself off to her friends. It's not that she's depressed it's that she can no longer relate to those people she thought knew her so well. How can any one talk about Prom and all those other things when there are much more important things in life? She can't relate to the mundane any more and no one knows who to treat her. What do you say to a teenager who's mom killed herself? Maddy leaving her causes Eve to grow up in a way that wouldn't have been possible before. She looks for ways out of the town that she feels suffocated in.

Maddy is looking down on her family from beyond life and interceding where she feels necessary. She enters their thoughts and repeats mantras to move them on the right paths. She wants to make sure that they are taken care of as she ascends up. For every good dead she does, her spirit elevates a bit higher. As a reader you are hoping to find out what it is that drove Maddy to take her life when, even through her journals, it didn't seem like she was depressed.

I enjoyed  Liked My Life immensely. It is witty and poignant. It is hopeful in spite of the sadness. There are so many great sayings/nuggets within this book that if you read a tree book, you will want your highlighter handy. There are lessons about life that we all should take away from the novel. I can't believe that this is Ms. Fabiaschi's first novel because there aren't any major hiccups. I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for her next book, even though this was just released.



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