“People think of ghosts as haunting, but it’s the other way around. You all haunt me. My life is now a delicious dessert just out of reach.”
Maddy was a devoted mother, a perfect housewife. She handled the day to day life of her husband and daughter with laughter and grace. No one would have thought her unhappy. Until her unexpected and shocking death.
Now Eve and Brady struggle with the magnitude of their grief, combined with confusion, guilt, and anger. They are forced to face the reality of their life as individuals and as a family. But Maddy isn’t ready to leave her family entirely either. Watching from beyond, with only the limited power of suggestion, she tries to guide them to a future without her.
“You don’t always get to know what happened, or why things happened a certain way, but it always, always, goes deeper than any one thing.”
I Liked My Life isn’t my usual read. In fact, if it wasn’t for a book chat discussion group, I’m not sure I would have picked it up on my own. Which would have been my loss, because this book is stunning in the best of ways. It is poignant and heartbreaking, but also uplifting, which is no easy feat. There are quotes and passages that struck me with such truth as I was reading. I feel like this is a book that will give you a different message every time you read it. It will evolve with you, change with you, grow with you.
The idea of one of the narrators being a ghost was also something I was wary of. How can you write such difficult subject matter through the eyes of a ghost? At least without reading as flippant, cliche, or worse? If this is a concern or a thought you’ve had, I can assure you that Fabiaschi handles both the narration and the topics explored with such care and finesse, that you’ll end the book wondering how you ever doubted her in the first place.
“Perhaps we all offer what we can, until we can’t, and then our loved ones step up or have others step in. Perhaps death exists to challenge the people left behind.”
I think I spent nearly half of the novel tearing up at some sentence or passage. Fabiaschi doesn’t tiptoe around the enormity of grief. She doesn’t diminish it or exaggerate it. The choice to write from multiple perspectives, including Maddy, gives this book the detail and dimension it needs to fully capture the complexity of the grieving process. Rather than hitting you with these big emotions though, the effect feels more like piercing arrows of insight.
As we undergo this journey with Brady and Eve, and even Maddy, it reminds us to live in the moment and appreciate the people around us. It also helps us understand that we all have our own trials, our own frustrations, and nuances. Our own ways of viewing the world and the people we love. We may never know all the secrets buried in the hearts of the people we love most, but we can still know them.
“You’ll become aware, you’ll ease up on yourself, forgive yourself a bit, and in so doing, you’ll be more forgiving of others.”
This book is perfect for book clubs and discussion groups. As I mentioned, that was how I came across it. There are so many layers to the story and the characters, that this will definitely lead to some emotional and thought provoking conversations. Readers should be aware that this is heavy in what grief can feel like, and there are many tragic moments written into the plot. This is also a book dealing with suicide as the source of grief, so anyone sensitive to that subject should know that going in.
Personally, even with the heavier topics, Fabiaschi handles every heartbreaking moment with lighter moments to balance them. This balance is what makes the story and the characters feel vivid, complex, and real. Life goes on, even as we bear the burden of grief. Fantastic novel!
Thank you Tracy for hosting the book chat on your Instagram page @thepagesinbetween.
Thank you Get Red PR for sending me a review copy!