2016 Reading Challenge
1. Life After Joe by Ann Benjamin
Topic: book about a road trip
When thirty-something Liz McNeil is unexpectedly widowed, she has no idea what to do with her life. After the initial shock of her husband's death wears off, she packs up her car and sets off on a tour of the country with Joe's urn in the passenger seat. Using social media to connect with a variety of friends and family, Liz works through her grief in a number of unpredictable methods. As she shares her experience via blog posts, on a road trip full of surprises, Liz takes what life has given her and makes the best of her situation.
Before I start, I wanted to give you a little background story. I get daily emails on book deals or what books are free for purchase on Kindle. It's a great way to find out about lesser known authors. Anyway, I heard about Life After Joe on the same day as an aunt's funeral. My aunt died unexpectedly right before Thanksgiving and even though she battled with some health issues, it still came as a shock to my family. The funeral was out of town. After a long and emotional few days, we were back at my cousin's house (since it was her mom who died). It seemed only fitting and a little strange that I would come across this book after everything that had happened. The other strange thing that Joe was the name of my aunt's husband, who had passed away back in the '90s.
Life After Joe is good for anyone who has ever lost a lost a loved one, as in a family member for the best example. I recently heard that the hardest part is not in losing a loved one, but in learning how to live without them. This couldn't be more true. It could be something as simple as not being able to call that person with good news or whatever it may be. The list could go on and on.
That's the story with Liz. Not knowing what to do, Liz goes on a road trip around the country with her husband's urn, taking him to visit family and friends. With each person/couple, she grieves in different and unsuspected ways. She also learns more about Joe than she thought she knew. The ending came as no surprise as it was alluded to throughout the book basically from the beginning.
Life After Joe was just okay. The blogging style of Liz (well Ann if you want to get technical) was atypical of most bloggers. The writing style was different, making it hard at times to stay interested or understanding her grief. I Some posts were filled with unnecessary information. The best part of the book was definitely the dialogue. It kept the story intriguing. The takeaway here is to remember that everyone grieves in their own way.
Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!