I Liked My Life
I have been a very, very bad book blogger...I must confess. I am extremely late getting my review for this book out into the blogosphere...which I feel even more horrible about considering how much I enjoyed the book once I started it.
I thank, and apologize to, Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for sending me an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book to review...that came out in JANUARY. 😬
I was going to insert a picture of me hanging my head in shame, but I need to dye my hair right now and I'm too embarrassed by my roots.
Okay, enough self-flagellation...and onto the good stuff.
I Liked My Life is the debut novel of U.S. Author Abby Fabiaschi. Fabiaschi resigned from her tech job to pursue writing when her children were toddlers, and is an ardent advocate for victims of sex trafficking and extreme abuse...which automatically endears her to me (and I point it out because...) it's a cause that I have been reading up on a lot recently due to my favorite sister's work in that area, and the work of a good friend and neighbor of mine.
I Liked My Life begins with Maddy optimistically looking for a replacement wife for her husband. You see, she has committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the library where she volunteers...and yet she is still here...and she's worried about her husband Brady and her daughter Eve. They are not handling the sudden loss of the mother and wife who did it all, and appeared to be happy, very well. Surely finding someone else to fill the void will make it all better, right??
Brady worked hard, and was great at bringing home the bacon. He was always pretty secure in his marriage. He'd never been unfaithful. Yes, his hours were long...and they did fight over some small things...but was he really so bad that she could leave him like this?? And what is he going to do with Eve when Maddy had always made it look so easy??
How is Eve supposed to go to parties, and hang out with her boyfriend...and do the normal things teenagers do, when her mother killed herself?? Was she really such a bad child?? What is she supposed to do now? And why don't people realize that their weird comments don't make it any easier for her??
And can Maddy really manipulate them from beyond, when she can feel herself getting farther and farther away from them every day??
I was absolutely HOOKED on this book. It took me about a chapter and a half to really get into it, but then I couldn't put it down. I read this one until the wee hours of the morning.
Each chapter is told through the eyes of the three main characters, Madeline, Eve and Brady...and they are all written with such distinct voices that I am blown away by this being a debut novel. That teen-aged angst is so good...and although I can't tell you what a man's inner dialogue sounds like, it felt very real to me. And yes...one of the characters is a ghost, but it doesn't feel hinky. It just feels heart-breaking and yet magical. I really loved Maddy.
This would make a phenomenal book club selection, as just the insight into marriage would be enough to talk about for an hour over wine and nibbles. There is even a good passage about Maddy's book club, and Eve's disgust when she finds out what her mother talks about with her friends during their "book" talk. I was literally laughing out loud because I'm pretty sure I've had a similar discussion with my girlfriends!!
I don't want to give a whole lot more away, so I'm just going to end with how sorry I am that I waited so long to read this one. I'm giving it 4 1/2 stars, and rounding up to a 5 on Goodreads. Being the fly on the wall for Brady and Eve trying to figure out how to have a relationship without the glue that held their family together was thought provoking, to say the least. And I hope someone out there has made a printable of Maddy's sage advice because I'd buy it in a heart beat. I'll be putting this one on my Favorites list, for sure.
So, at the risk of my friends piping up in the comments with stories I'd rather not have on the internet for the world to read, if you're in a book club...does the conversation always stay with the book?? Or do you also occasionally veer into the personal also?? Let me know in the comments here, or over on my Facebook page! And a HUGE Thank you again to Netgally and Abby Fabiaschi! Can't wait to see what she puts out next!