Author: J.J. Elliott
Publication Date: May 16, 2023
Publisher: She Writes Press
Obtained: Emi Battaglia PR
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Bottom Line: Novel that packs an emotional punch
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Summary: People like Feeney Simms don’t commit suicide. Beautiful, charismatic, mother of two, wife to a handsome, successful husband, beloved by her friends—this is not the typical picture of a tortured soul. But one summer night, Feeney drives to the beach and swallows a handful of pills. No note, no explanation, nothing. Like that, she’s gone. Faced with this loss, Ali, Max, and Liddy, Feeney’s closest friends, are left reeling, grappling with the devastating cocktail of grief, guilt, and anger that’s left in the wake of a suicide. In a desperate attempt to avoid further loss, the three women make the unorthodox (and very Feeney-like) decision to hold their own funerals while they are still alive—and the experience changes each of them in ways they couldn’t have imagined. ~amazon.com
Review: If you have dealt with someone dying by suicide then this book may not be for you as it could be triggering but it could also be healing. I have not dealt with this situation myself, so I can't judge if Ms. Elliott's characterizations are true to life but they felt like it while reading There Are No Rules for This.
How would you react if one of your closest friends took their life by swallowing pills? What if they were the happiest and most centered person you knew? The one that always had the answers to any question you had. This is what Ali, Max and Liddy are launched into when their friend Feeney's husband calls to let them know she's gone. At first they are all dazed and going about their days on autopilot. The funeral isn't what they envisioned since her mom and sisters take it over. Max decides that they should throw their own funeral for her in the way they believe she would want to be remembered.
What There Are No Rules for This shows is that people grieve in very different ways and go through a whole host of different emotions. Including being pretty selfish with their thoughts on who knew Feeney best. The fact of the matter is, they all saw what she wanted them to see. In the end, it begs the question how well do we know those who we believe we are closest to? Are we all ever really fully honest with those around us?
I thought that Ms. Elliott represented the roller coaster of emotions in dealing with a death by suicide and how the people left behind deal with the ramification.