Monday, July 8, 2019

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

What would you do if you only had 90 days to live? How would you handle it? Denial? Rage? Give up? Or, as Jennifer Cole does, refuse to take the medicines the doctor prescribes, and decide to mark the days off the calendar? 

Well, Jennifer does more than that. She realizes this is her one final chance to let three people who shaped her life know exactly what they did to her. Those people are: her older sister Isabelle, her ex-husband Andy, and her ex-boyfriend, Harry. 

Isabelle --the pretty one (Jennifer is the smart one) who cruelly snatched Jennifer's college boyfriend away from her, and lives a happily married life with two perfect daughters, and never has anything nice to say to Jennifer. 

Andy, her ex-husband, who left her for another woman (the horrid Elizabeth) after Jennifer's third miscarriage, is a complete toad. Jennifer thought they had a happy marriage, and his announcement that he had been having an affair and was leaving her were low blows. Even years later, it leaves a bitter taste in her mouth, and has her wondering how she could have been so wrong about someone--and why he had to treat her so badly. 

Harry--he's the one that got away, into the arms of Melissa. Handsome, sophisticated, and charming, Jennifer thought he was the shit. And yes, he was a shit--just not a good one. Their breakup was so painful for Jennifer that she never quite got over it. 

So, Jennifer writes each a letter, telling them she has a terminal blood disorder, a short time to live, and then tells each of them exactly what they did to her, and how it made her feel. She hopes, of course, that there will be some kind of response, and in the short time she has left, some resolution. Does she find it?

This was a charming novel. It may seem terribly sad, and that may keep you from picking it up, but please do--you'll be surprised at Jennifer's journey. Things are not at all what they seem, and Jennifer's one moment of spontaneity early on in the novel reverberates throughout the story. It wasn't hard to figure out what was going on, but I didn't care--I enjoyed Jennifer's story. She's a charming, warm, intelligent woman who has a few regrets--and those regrets are failed relationships. It was interesting to delve into Jennifer's thought process as she grapples with the news of her terminal disease. You will think about yourself, and how you would cope, and what would be the most important things for you to set to rights before the end comes. 

A huge thank you to Penguin/Viking and Pamela Dorman Books for an advanced copy of this book. If you want to smile, cheer, sigh, and laugh, this is the book for you. 

Rating: 4/6 for a novel that crept up on me and suddenly, I didn't want it to end. Full of humor, wit, love, warmth, and some blazing good moments of telling the brutal truth. 

This novel is released in the U.S. on July 9th, 2019 in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

1 comment :

  1. That is a great title and the book sounds interesting.