Maddy was a loving, devoted stay-at-home mother...until she committed suicide, which left her husband Brady and her teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering how they can possibly continue without her. Maddy, however, isn’t quite done with them. In an attempt to fulfill her family’s needs, Maddy watches and meddles from beyond the grave, determined to find the perfect wife and mother to replace herself and heal her family. That’s when she finds Rory: a free-spirited schoolteacher, who Maddy maneuvers into Eve’s confidences, but who turns out to be harboring a tragedy of her own.
In a story both deeply moving and charming, with the domestic insight of Jodi Picoult, I Liked My Life from debut author Abby Fabiaschi is a mother’s final blessing for a family learning to live again.
My Review of I Liked My Life
I have no idea where to start in reviewing this book, other than to say that I completely adored this story. I'll try my very best to describe the essence of this book and what it means to me, without giving the plot away. So let me start by writing about Maddy, one of the three characters who narrates the story. She is the mother of Eve and wife to Brady, and throughout the novel we learn of why she committed suicide. I found her to be very captivating and very easy to read. She reels you in with her scheming and the need to once again create the perfect family. She wants Brady and Eve to be happy without her, and so therefore she feels that she needs to find the perfect wife and mother replacements. Now, this whole being able to manipulate people from the grave is a very interesting concept and, it could have really been executed badly on the page. It could have been completely over sentimentalised, causing a chasm between the reader and character. But, this is not the case. The author has managed to pull off a believable and likeable mother figure who is not perfect and who simply wants the best for her loved ones who are left behind. She is startlingly real.
Then we have Brady, the grieving husband, and once again, the author has got this just right. We feel his anger and betrayal, because of the way in which Maddy died. Reading his words on the page, we come to realise that grieving for his wife is a difficult process for him, due to the way in which she died. He too is almost in limbo and needs to work out how to push forward. Of course he also has his teenage daughter to care for and all of the complexities that come with raising a teenager. The dialogue between them was some of the most real and frank discussions that I have ever read in a novel.
Eve is the daughter left behind, and she too learns how to grieve in her very own way. As well as having to deal with the loss of her mother, she has all of the normal teenage angst and troubles to deal with which make her life far from perfect. I really liked Eve and found her to be a young woman who simply wanted her mother back, to tell her that she was sorry for taking her for granted - my heart ached at her yearning for her mother and the fact that she would never have the chance to tell her how much she loved her.
I feel that the book's blurb does not do this book justice. This is a book about family learning to live again, but it is so much more. It is a ghost story in a sense, that talks of all consuming love. But it is also a book that discusses the complexities of father and daughter relationships. That is what I truly feel is at the heart of this book, the daughter/father bond. It is a book about new beginnings - but also, it is a book about learning to heal from the past.