– Hannah Beckerman
Published: 2014, Penguin
‘Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.’
Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating.
Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems. As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.
Hannah Beckerman gives an unforgettable exploration of love and loss in her first novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook.
Oh, this book. I have been recommended it so many times, and I’ve actually had it sitting on my shelf for a good few months before eventually picking it up to read.
This book really reminded me of The Time Traveller’s Wife in one instance. We’re viewing Rachel’s family and friends as she is – from the outside – but Rachel was constantly disappearing and reappearing in time. Everything was in chronological order, but she did end up missing hours, days or months depending on when she managed to get back. That’s what reminded me of it, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just what I thought of first!
So this book is split into different sections, and from researching I’ve just discovered that these followed the seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and acceptance. I really liked this, and after realising what was done, I like it even more!
I thought The Dead Wife’s Handbook was a little difficult to read at times, just because of the subject and Rachel’s thoughts. She was pretty selfish, and I’ve seen a lot of reviews where people hated her in the first half of the book, but I could understand where she was coming from. I think most people would say that you would want your partner/children to move on if you died, but seeing it happen is another story. With her death being so sudden, Rachel really does find it difficult to come to terms with it and it’s hard not only to see her struggle, and to also see the family struggle too.
This book was full of emotion, and I just couldn’t put it down. I can see now why so many people told me I should just read it, and I would definitely recommend it.
My Rating – To see my book review rating guide click here.