Tag Archives: Death & Dying

Review: The Weekend

The Weekend

The Weekend
By Charlotte Wood
Riverhead Books, 9780593086438, August 2020, 272pp.

The Short of It:

Started off as a sweet story about three friends coming together after a friend’s death, but then was punched through with sadness and a little darkness which I was not expecting.

The Rest of It:

After the passing of their friend Sylvie, Adele, Jude, Wendy and her dog Finn, arrive at Sylvie’s old beach house to prepare it for sale. Adele, a former actress who still has her looks about her, prances around, flaunting her flexibility which she still possesses even in her 70s. Jude, the most sensible but also the most abrasive of the trio, puts up with her to a point but lets everyone know when they are annoying or slacking at the task at hand. After all, they have a job to do.

Wendy arrives a little sad over the death of her friend but also sad about the husband she lost and the next chapter of their lives. They aren’t getting any younger. By her side, is her sweet dog Finn who is also getting on in his years. So much so that he has anxiety attacks, paces relentlessly and has accidents, regularly. Wendy knows that she should put him down, but can’t bring herself to do so. Poor Finn.

The author does a magnificent job of capturing that fleeting feeling of time passing too quickly. In their prime, these four women were formidable and strong, successful and bonded through friendship. But in their 70s, they are tired and short with each other as they each figure out how they fit together without their friend Sylvie. As insecurities flare and one big secret is revealed that threatens to destroy their friendship, they pause for a moment to figure out where they want to go because even at this age, they have choices.

I really enjoyed this book and the writing in particular but there was one big problem I had with it and it’s the treatment of the elderly dog, Finn. I know that a beloved dog approaching the end of its life was probably intentional given that these ladies were also getting on in years and approaching the last stage of life, but the way this poor animal is treated by the other ladies in the house really bothered me. He’s full of anxiety, pushed around, forced to sleep outside even though he’s terrified of his own shadow. I really do not know why the author chose to include such horrible treatment of this poor dog. It was terribly disappointing and I felt, a poor choice and unfortunately affected how I felt about the book overall.

If you can get past these moments with the dog, then you might appreciate the writing, as I did. But I felt so sorry for this poor pup. I really did.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Go Ask Fannie

Go Ask Fannie

Go Ask Fannie
By Elisabeth Hyde
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735218567, April 10, 2018, 304pp.

The Short of It:

This family’s story tugged at my heart.

The Rest of It:

Murray Blaire is getting on in years. At 81, he’s set in his ways but still present enough to know the importance of family. In an attempt to convince his youngest adult daughter that the man she is seeing is far too old for her and a real jerk, he invites his three children up for a long weekend.

Ruth as the eldest, figures it’s a good time to discuss the possibility of long-term care before her father actually needs it but Lizzie and George and most of all, Murray, just aren’t ready to talk about it. Plus, Lizzie quickly figures out the real reason for the visit and although she realizes she made many mistakes in her life, she’s not quite ready to address them. Certainly not in front of her judgmental older sister.

This is family drama at its best. Go Ask Fannie is a touching story about what it takes to have a successful marriage and raise a family while still maintaining a sense of self. Lillian and Murray lived a wonderful life but her death and the death of their son Daniel place a cloud over this family that cannot be ignored. Murray’s grief and the weight of loss his kids carry is palpable. It’s a story about missed opportunities and second chances. It’s sweet and well-told and comes together beautifully at the end.

Elisabeth Hyde is a new-to-me author but I really enjoyed her writing. Go Ask Fannie is a book many will enjoy this summer.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.