This book felt like it should have been a 4 star book, but it never quite lived up to the potential for me. There wasn’t anything really wrong with it, as such. There was quite a bit right with it. Still, I clearly enjoyed it, and am glad I read it.
Summary via Goodreads.com:
She was the thread that wove their tapestry together.
With a group of women as diverse as the ladies from Brightwood Trace, you might not think them to be close. There’s Julianne, a nurse with an unsettling psychic ability that allows her to literally feel what her patients feel, Andrea, a strong fortress sheltering a faltering core, Ginger, a mother torn between being a stay-at-home mom or following her career aspirations, and Iona, the oldest, whose feisty, no-nonsense attitude disarms even toughest of the tough. Not exactly the ingredients for the most cohesive cocktail . . . Until you add Paisely, the liveliest and friendliest of the clan, who breathed life into them all.
But when their glowing leader falls ill with cancer, it’s up to these women to do what Paisely has done for them since the beginning: lift her up. Overcoming and accepting the inevitability of loss, the women draw closer than ever; finding together the strength to embrace and cherish their lives with acceptance, gratitude and most importantly, love. Finally living with the vigor that Paisely has shown them from the start, they are able to see their lives in a new light, while learning to say goodbye to the brightest star they’ve ever known. Over the course of just three months, these four women will undergo a magnificent transformation that leaves nobody unchanged.
What was most interesting to me was the picture of the neighborhood, and the links between the women there, even more so than the women themselves.
The women each had her own story, and they all included Paisley at some point, at some time, to some degree. They included each other as well, but not as strongly.
Thinking back on the book, I’m a little puzzled as to why I didn’t feel more strongly about the characters, why they never came to life for me as individuals, not even Paisly.
On the other hand, the book really did feel honest and complete as these friends faced Paisly’s illness. The women don’t always know how to support each other when things get really rough– they are willing to pitch in to organize meals and prayer groups, but are unable to spend time with someone in crisis– human nature, but sad! This experience causes the women to grow, individually and together.
I wish I was better able to express my thoughts about The Art of Saying Goodbye. I appreciated the balance of the personalities of the characters, of the good and the bad in the lives of each one, and of the honest look at the reactions of good people to a terrible situation. I just wish the characters had popped a little further off the page.
I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour. Thank you to TLC and William Morrow for arranging for me to receive a copy of The Art of Saying Goodbye to review. For other opinions, check out the other tour stops, most of which seemed to love the book!
- Tuesday, June 14th: Reviews from the Heart
- Wednesday, June 22nd: Bookstack
- Monday, June 27th: StephTheBookworm
- Wednesday, June 29th: Crazy for Books
- Thursday, June 30th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
- Tuesday, July 5th: A Cozy Reader’s Corner
- Wednesday, July 6th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
- Date TBD: Colloquium