5 stars rounded upThis is a light, sweet novel with a great deal to say about living life on your own terms, not what everyone expects from you or bound by fear and insecurity.
I really appreciated Jennifer s journey when she is told that she has three months to live She made some surprising choices, but overall they make for an engaging story that kept me turning pages to discover what would happen next In a way, I felt like I came into this book in the middle of a story Jen has all sorts of friends relationships etc and it takes a while to figure out who is who and how things fit together This made it a bit difficult to get into the book than I would have liked, but by the end it did all make sense I particularly liked Jennifer and her sister s relationship It was realistic and heartwarming at the same time, I liked that they confronted their pasts and found that their individual views of how they were raised had shaped much of their behavior It was very meaningful and inspired me to have some in depth conversations with my friends and family.
Recommended for those who like drama and humorous stories Small warning language for those who might be sensitive.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Something somewhat different on my blog today Far removed from all the crime fiction and psychological thrillers I tend to read, it was the book description for Death and other Happy Endings that immediately appealed to me Who doesn t just want to let go and really tell people what you think of them Jennifer Cole is told she has an incurable disease and only has three months left to live What would you do Pull out a bucket list and cram as much as you can into those ninety days you have left Or take a good, long look at the life you ve led so far the good and the bad Jennifer decides this is the perfect time to write letters to her ex husband, her ex boyfriend and her sister Three people who have been immensely significant in her life, but who have also let her down and maybe Jennifer has let them get away with just that little bit too much Finally, she feels the time has come to tell them how she really feels about them After all, she s dying and won t have to face the consequences, right But there are a few surprises in store.
You d be forgiven for thinking this story would be absolutely depressing but I promise you, it s really not A lot of that down is to the character of Jennifer, who is absolutely delightful From the very first page, I already knew I was going to love her to bits As heartbreaking as the news about her diagnosis is, there was something about her personality that immediately drew me to her Even while sitting in the doctor s office, receiving bad news, she somehow managed to make me laugh.
It s remarkably easy to imagine the feeling of liberation Jennifer has when she finally posts the three letters It almost made me feel slightly jealous, thinking I too would love to tell some people a few home truths Although preferably without a death sentence hanging over my head Why is it that we often don t or wait until it s too late Death and other Happy Endings is a moving, yet witty and heartwarming story about relationships, friendships, life and regrets I absolutely adored this book I found it immensely enjoyable and entertaining, yet also quite thought provoking This is a truly delightful debut from Melanie Cantor and I would have absolutely no problem shoving my crime fiction and thrillers aside to read by her.
I must have been swayed by the title of this book months ago when I chose to download this advance reader copy, for the cover is certainly lacking When I would peruse my outstanding arcs to read review and encounter this book cover, it only served to push me away not doing justice to the gem buried within I am drawn to melancholy and emotional subject matter, but as the book s title an oxymoron if there ever was one suggests, there is hope for a glass half full perspective to inspire the reader And it didin spades The book takes place in England my favorite locale and centers upon the character of Jennifer Cole, a forty ish divorcee who works in Human Resources She hadn t been feeling well and went to her longtime family physician for some diagnostic bloodwork He breaks the unfathomable news that she s suffering from a terminal illness and will die within 90 days She decides to make peace with her ex husband with whom she suffered three miscarriages , ex boyfriend, and estranged sister by writing and then mailing those letters Some people find closure as a mental exercise by just writing a letter to someone and not actually mailing it, but Jennifer did the deed and popped them into the post Now it was just a waiting game anticipating the fallout She told them about her terminal diagnosis, and poured out her heart to each individual with whom she shared love, betrayal, heartache and discord She didn t have time to ditherit was literally do or die.
One morning shortly after receiving her death sentence, she took a melancholy walk on the heath and encountered an attractive man doing the same He gamely approached her with some gentle small talk, when she impulsively shared her terminal diagnosis In the mindset of a person having to live each and every precious moment, Jennifer did something she would otherwise never have done She suddenly began kissing him, and he responded in kind In a surreal seizing the moment experience, in a no holds barred fashion, passion ignited and a spontaneous lovemaking session took place in some nearby foliage You could hear passerby in close distance, and the possibility of discovery only added to the illicit excitement They never shared names or contact numbers, even though the handsome stranger wished to do so after their mind blowing encounter, and they parted ways that morning.
Jennifer hears back from all the recipients of her letters, and finds both revelations and resolutions to those relationships In the end, she becomes a much stronger person and has a clearer perspective on the people who have kept her on an emotional tether I must confess that I predicted the outcome of this book fairly early on, but it still did not prevent me from enjoying every bit of it as the story unfolded About fifty percent into the book, it really took off when it had already been carrying me on a pleasant ride As the book title implies, this is a morbid tale that will ultimately lift your heart up with joy Thank you to Pamela Dorman books Penguin Publishing Group who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley This did not affect my rating or review.
Wow This book ended up not working for me at all Probably because the initial premise Jennifer Cole being diagnosed with an incurable condition giving her months to live didn t really get focused on too much Instead we focused on Jennifer writing letters to her ex husband, her ex s current wife, her ex lover, her ex childhood friend, and her sister Yeah these are all people that Jennifer had or has issues with and who she wants to clear things off her chest It could have been done in a funny way, but it didn t work for me Don t get me started on how the big suddenly changes mid stream into Jennifer becoming obsessed with her ex, then a lie, another lie, and then the book tries to jump to some chick lit ending That is not to disparage chick lit by the way, it just didn t fit with the initial parts of the book at all Death and other Happy Endings has Jennifer just being told she has 90 days before she will die After telling her best friend and crying I would be too her friend encourages her to write letters to people she still has a lot of complicated feelings about So she does And then mayhem ensues I won t get into everyone s response, but am going to say that Jennifer and her sister s relationship being changed was the only highlight in this story After Jennifer reconnects with her ex it just becomes about him And believe me if I got a deadly diagnosis I would not give two shits about any of my ex s I would be trying to squeeze things in that I want to do and let the people I love know how much I love them Anyway.
I didn t like Jennifer much Her life seems really empty and her house is always cold and apparently dirty It s like she gave up on anything before her diagnosis It would have been wonderful to see her embrace life or something, but nope she s just obsessed about her ex.
Jennifer s sister is a mess You read about their past relationship and I can see why they are not close But them trying to be close had some laugh out loud moments which is why I gave this book two stars.
Jennifer s ex I think was named Harry Harry sucks and the fact that Jennifer refused to see it was frustrating to read after a while.
Jennifer writing a letter to her ex s current wife was a bit much for me It had been a decade I think in the book s timeline so her acting like a woman scorned and her saying what about the sisterhood didn t work for me.
Jennifer s ex was a wanker The writing felt choppy after a while I got bored and then Cantor throws in a twist I saw coming And then there s another twist I didn t see coming, but at that point I didn t care The flow of the book was all messed up honestly I don t know a way to fix it I think trying to shoehorn everything into one book didn t work The book ends on what I think they see as a happy ending but I went oh boy that s going to be a mess eventually.
This is a brilliant read A story which perfectly combines a serious situation with deadpan British wit and a very likeable main character it s a winner.
For fans of Eleanor Oliphant and Fleabag, I can easily see this being adapted for TV, women of a certain age everywhere will love it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a Kindle ARC of Death and Other Happy Endings.
Jennifer Cole is a middle aged woman who has just been given three months to live As a result, she decides to write letters to a few people who have wronged her, including her brat of a sister, her dick of an ex, and her selfish boyfriend.
Naturally, when you realize you only live once, Jennifer finds herself acting out of character, causing a typical landslide of chick lit events, which all come crashing down when she finds herself back in the doctor s office, but with a new lease on life.
The premise is nothing new the main character discovers he or she has only X amount of time left on this mortal plane and either makes amends with people he or she has wronged or engages in YOLO behavior that help her or him see life is worth living.
The thing is, I didn t like Jennifer She was a wishy washy, doormat y person It was hard to believe she was in her mid forties she whined and moaned about her exes like a 14 year old.
The writing was okay, but I didn t feel invested in the story nor did I like anyone and the ending was typical chick lit happy ever after.
This book was not for me but others might like a feel good story with this kind of premise.
Death and other Happy Endings is the kind of story you hope never happens to you Jennifer is forty something and just been told she has three months to live She chooses to use this time writing letters to three people who are or were important in her life and with whom she s left things unsaid The three people are her sister, ex husband and ex boyfriend Jennifer writes for closure She s dying, so she might as well say whatever she wants It won t matter in three months anyway, right I found this story at turns hopeful and depressing I questioned whether Jennifer had made a good decision with the letter writing Maybe she was too nice or too spiteful or mean or not mean enough It s so open ended for the recipients She gets closure, and they get who knows what It s a story of love, loss, friendship and facing the end of your life Still, things never turn out right Even in fiction Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
I didn t finish this book because I wasn t interested in the character and the plot line It s about a forty something woman diagnosed with terminal cancer and has about three months left to live Prior to dying, she decides to write three letters airing her grievances To Elizabeth and Andy, her ex husband Harry, an ex boyfriend and Isabelle, her sister I gave it about a hundred pages and didn t feel invested enough to continue.
Thank you to NetGalley and to Viking books for the advanced reading copy.
I found this book to be a very clever fast read It was engaging and entertaining It s one of those books where instantly I wondered what I would do if I received such a diagnosis How would I respond I m pretty sure I would have asked for a second opinion After sending her letters, Jennifer has people reach out to her Are the reaching out because they truly care, have guilt, want to say goodbye or have some other reason It was nice to see Jennifer and her sister Isabelle reunite and rebuild their relationship.
The title might sound like this book is all doom and gloom but it s not It is on the lighter side feel good than feel bad There are some revelations and a twist along the way Acceptance is a tricky and wonderful thing It can bring peace and clarity It can also motivate and provide comfort I wasn t too surprised when the plot took a turn and changed things up My advice would be to not read too much about the plot in order to avoid any spoilers I found this to be an enjoyable, thought provoking and entertaining read The characters are quirky and entertaining Jennifer proves to be spunky and learns about herself and the people in her life A light entertaining read that takes something tragic and turns it into a happy ending.
Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Jennifer Cole Has Just Been Told That She Has A Terminal Blood Disease She Has Three Months To Live Ninety Days To Say Goodbye To Friends And Family And Put Her Affairs In Order Trying To Focus On The Positives At Least She Ll Never Lose Her Teeth Jennifer Realises She Has One Overriding Regret The Words She S Left Unsaid Rather Than Pursuing A Frantic Bucket List, She Chooses To Stay Put, And Write Letters To Three Significant People In Her Life Her Overbearing, Selfish Sister, Her Jelly Spined, Cheating Ex Husband, And Her Charming, Unreliable Ex Boyfriend Finally Telling Them The Things She S Always Wanted To Say But Never Dared At First, Jennifer Feels Cleansed By Her Catharsis Liberated, Even But Once You Start Telling The Truth, It S Hard To Stop And, As She Soon Discovers, The Truth Isn T Always As Straightforward As It Seems, And Death Has A Way Of Surprising You