Title: I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 273 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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?
I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi is a poignant yet remarkably uplifting novel about healing, grief and moving forward after enduring a tragic loss.
Brady Starling and his seventeen year old daughter Eve are struggling to understand devoted wife and mom Maddy’s recent death. Their lives rarely intersect as Brady continues to use work as way to avoid his pain. Eve no longer has anything in common with her friends and classmates and already feeling numb with grief, she is becoming increasingly isolated in the weeks leading up to summer break. Unbeknownst to both Brady and Eve, Maddy is still watching over them and trying to help them work their way from grieving to healing. She is also doing a little beyond the grave matchmaking as she tries to find the perfect woman to help both Brady and Eve heal from their heartbreaking loss.
Brady and Eve are floundering in the aftermath of Maddy’s death as they realize how much she did to ensure their lives ran smoothly. They are also trying to understand why the seemingly happy wife and mother would have wanted to end her life. As they realize how incredibly self-absorbed and unappreciative they were of Maddy, they are wracked with guilt that they missed signs she was depressed and unhappy enough to commit suicide.
As they try to work through their tangled emotions, Brady and Eve seem to have little common ground and initially, most of their interactions are so filled with anger and pain they cannot connect. Brady’s default mode is avoidance and unfortunately, Eve is emulating his less than healthy behavior. After they finally get a much needed wake-up call, they begin the arduous task of rebuilding their shattered family. A sometimes daunting task, but with a little effort on both of their parts, Brady and Eve begin to make progress but their newfound peace is often quite fragile.
Maddy is certainly doing all she can to help her family recover from her loss. She finally discovers she can send thoughts and energy to help Brady and Eve with the healing process. Some of the people in her family’s lives are a little easier for her manipulate than others and while some of her efforts are misconstrued, most of her attempts are successful. After much searching, Maddy has found the person she feels is the perfect woman to help Brady and Eve deal with their pain and sorrow, but will her matchmaking yield the results she is hoping for?
I Liked My Life is a well-written novel that deals with very difficult subject manner in a surprisingly humorous and startlingly insightful manner. The characters are wonderfully complex with all too realistic foibles and frailties. The storyline is oftentimes heartbreaking as Brady and Eve try to understand the reasons for Maddy’s suicide while at the same time, they are struggling to come to terms with their new reality. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this beautifully rendered debut by Abby Fabiaschi.