This Chick Reads is beyond excited to be part of Hannah Beckerman’s Blog Tour for ‘The Dead Wife’s Handbook’. It’s the book EVERYONE has been talking about for the last couple of months! Now that we read Hannah’s book, we can only say it totally lived up to the hype!
‘The Dead Wife’s Handbook’ is one of the best and most original books I’ve ever read. It’s deep, emotional and thought-provoking. When Hannah shared her first chapter I knew I had to immediately check it out. I was hooked from the very first page. I had tears in my eyes from reading the first couple of sentences:
“I didn’t mean to die so young. I don’t suppose anyone does. I don’t suppose many people would willingly fail to reach their thirty-seventh birthday or their eighth wedding anniversary or see out their daughter’s seventh year on the planet. I suspect there aren’t many people who would voluntarily relinquish all that, given the choice.”
Rachel didn’t have a choice. She didn’t even know she had a poor heart until that day she felt a strong pain in her chest and died at the age of 36, leaving her beloved husband Max and 6 year old daughter Ellie to mourn for her. But it’s not only them who’re grieving, Rachel is having a hard time adjusting to the fact she will no longer be able to see or touch her family, that she won’t be able to see Ellie grow up, not be able to see her finish school, fall in love, get married.
Now i told you this is an emotional book, and as you see you’ll probably need tons of tissues when reading it. But what I found really fascinating was the way this book was cleverly divided in parts which showed the things Rachel was going through, the different stages starting from shock, to denial, anger etc. As human beings, we might be different when it comes to many things, but we sure are so similar when it comes to grief, pain and loss. We all feel it and we have a hard time accepting the loss. The Dead Wife’s Handbook is such a wonderful book, yet reading it was such a strange experience. I’ve never thought about what would happen to my loved ones if I died, totally unexpected just like Rachel did. Because, as much as everyone says they’d want their loved ones to move on, is it really something we’d want?
Maybe I’m nothing like Rachel, but I am a woman, a wife and a mother, so I could really connect with her. I could feel her pain, her grief, her worst fears. She’s torn, fearing she’d be forgotten, and that might be worse than the actual death.
“It’s not the mortality of the body that’s the real tragedy of the dead. It’s the dissolution of memory. For the dead, to be forgotten is as if never to have lived at all.”
But though this book will make you cry like a baby, it is definitely not just a book about dying or overcoming loss. It’s about love, that unconditional love we feel for our children, that imprint we leave behind and that continues to speak about who we were. It’s about the importance of family, of loving and being loved, of sharing memories and holding on to them when everything is lost. Because those memories are who we were, who we are, they define us.
I swear, I could talk about this book for hours, and I must say it is an excellent choice for Book Clubs or groups who’d want a fantastic book that will provoke so much discussing on many topics. But it all goes down to this: ‘The Dead Wife’s Handbook’ might be a debut but it’s a masterpiece! And no matter how hard I try to explain just how fabulous this book is, I’m sure I’ll never be able to. It’s such a powerful, deep, emotional, thought-provoking book you definitely don’t want to miss out on. I’m sure you’ll love both the powerful message behind it as well as Hanna’s unique, fresh and beautiful writing style. A true MASTERPIECE that will stay with you long after you’ve read it! I bow to you Hannah!
My rating: 5/5
Hannah Beckerman’s Best Romantic Memory
I was in Shanghai with my boyfriend at the end of a three-week trip to China. The weather in Shanghai had been patchy since we’d arrived a few days earlier but on this day the sky had finally cleared and there were at last decent views across the city. I was desperate to spend sunset on the observation deck at the top of the Shanghai World Financial Centre – the highest observation deck in the world – but my boyfriend was insistent that we should have early evening drinks at a rooftop bar overlooking the The Bund and the river. I pointed out that we could do that any evening it didn’t rain, but that there might not be another evening clear enough for decent views up high. My boyfriend was insistent we go to the bar, and his insistence was pretty unusual: he’s usually the most laid-back person I know. After a bit of huffing and puffing (actually, quite a lot of huffing and puffing) I finally gave in. A few hours later, at a rooftop bar watching the sun go down and the lights of the city come up, my boyfriend proposed. It turned out he’d been planning to propose on that very day (on the day sandwiched in between the anniversary of when we met and my birthday) and in that very place (overlooking the skyline of a city we’d both been so looking forward to visiting) for some months now. And I’d come very close to spoiling the whole thing with my demands to go somewhere else. We never did get to that observation deck, but we did get married six months later and I reckon that’s probably a better outcome than any view in the world.
My Best Romantic Memory
Three years ago I was away from home (in Bulgaria) due to some research I needed for a project. I always hate leaving my family behind, but unfortunately, it’s a sacrifice I had to make because of my job. First two weeks were hard, I could barely eat and I worked so hard and such long hours at the lab. The third week I really felt like I can’t take it anymore, it was freezing (though it was June), and besides working I really couldn’t do much. I was too tired when I’d come to the flat, and really had no desire to go out and hang with my colleagues. I called hubby and remember crying so hard, telling him I feel like I can’t take it anymore. We were on the phone for half an hour, I spoke to my son and I was trying so hard to sound happy because the last thing I wanted was for him to get upset. I went to bed with tears, hoping tomorrow I would feel better. I woke up and the phone was ringing. It was hubby, optimistic as ever, wishing me a good morning and telling me he has a surprise for me, but I will need to go to the window. Once I went, I nearly fainted. IT WAS HUBBY in front of my building, lots of baggage and flowers in his hands! I remember running down the stairs, leaving the flat’s door open. My love was here! I still can’t believe he drove all night, crossed borders to come and see me and make me feel better. He stayed for a week and we had a blast! I will never forget the look in his eyes, the strong embrace, that feeling when you know someone is there for you whenever you need him. Miki, if you’re reading this, just know that I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, more and more with each new day!
‘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.
The ‘Dead Wife’s Handbook’ will be released on Thursday 13th February. (in just two days!)
And here is the special video for this book Hannah made, we love it!