Friday, 14 February 2014

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

Rachel Myerson led an idyllic life; loving husband, beautiful daughter, great job, friends and family, until the day an unknown heart defect cruelly cut her life short. But Rachel finds that after she has passed away, she still has access to the world of the living. 

Caught between the world of the living and the dead, she is randomly afforded view of the life she left behind, unbeknownst to her grieving family. She thinks that things couldn’t be worse than being separated from her husband Max and her daughter Ellie, but when Max meets a new woman, she finds that her heart can break all over again. 

We see the world from Rachel’s viewpoint, and as she continues to be a voyeur to the world she left behind, she begins to learn more about her old life and how to cope with her death.

I have to admit, that when I first started reading this book, I found it a little depressing and I couldn't see myself liking it. But the further I got in, I was curious as to what Rachel would next see, as much in the dark as she was. Then, as all the characters continue their journey, you can’t help but get a little emotionally invested. I won’t lie, I did have a little cry towards the end! 

My favourite character was Rachel’s best friend Harriet, I found her to something of a voice of reason, even if she was a little bolshie or tactless at times. The subject of the afterlife is a theme that has endless possibilities and this interpretation was leaning towards the realism side of things. I like to think that when we do leave this world, maybe we will have the chance to see loved ones, if even one last time. 

It’s a strong subject, and I think that the characters within this story were well developed in order to tell the story. There were also lots of other emotionally strong subjects such as marriage, child rearing, loss and fertility, scattered throughout to make you think and tug at your heartstrings. 

Emotionally charged, thoughtful and eloquent, this is a book that will make you think, that may make you cry, but will also leave you hopeful too.

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