Monday, April 13, 2009

The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide

Flap copy from ARC:
Delia is a household advice columnist who seems to have all the answers. She is such a fountain of knowledge that she's written a whole book just about laundry, and now that she's dying, she's going to write the book on that as well- the ultimate "Household Guide to Dying". Meanwhile, she'll compile a list for her daughter's future wedding; fill the freezer with homemade stews; and offer her a husband a suggestion for whom to marry when she's gone. One item on her to-do list, however, proves too much even for "Dear Delia", and just as she is coming to terms with the impossibility of the whole mission, an unexpected visitor helps her believe in her life's worth in a way that no list ever could."

This book was an excellent portrayal of one woman's attempt to deal with her oncoming death by mapping it out for other women. As Delia wrestles with the realities of a terminal cancer diagnosis, she tries desperately to keep her family life as normal as possible. When she suddenly leaves her family to drive halfway across the country in search of her past, Delia finds more and less than she had hoped.

This poignant look at Delia's last months was unexpectedly funny in parts- I found myself laughing in spite of myself at certain points. Delia's relationship with her husband and children rang true, her love for them tempered by occasional annoyance and understandable frustration as she grows weaker. When Delia brought home her coffin for her family to decorate, it was both shocking and completely perfect. Though I wasn't certain about the way some of the plotlines came together (can't say more without spoilers), the actual ending of the book more than made up for any earlier faults. Delia's death was handled with amazing sensitivity and actually brought tears to my eyes. Highly recommended!

1 comment:

Amy said...

This looks really good, but a tear jerker!