This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance

By Jonathan Evison

4 out of 5 stars

“We are the sum of moments and reflections, actions and decisions, triumphs, failures, and yearnings, all of it held together, inexplicably, miraculously, really by memory and association. Yes, Harriet, our lives are more sinew than bone.”

I love that. That really is the gist of this story. Harriet goes on an Alaskan cruise that her husband Bernard set up long before his illness and his death. Her friend Mildred drops out of going so she goes it alone. Kind of. She keeps seeing Bernard. He comes back for something. What,  we don’t know. Harriet reflects over her life and the story goes between different ages. Not in any kind of order, you can go from present day at 78 to age 6 to age 58. She remembers how she got to where she is today and who she was before. And there is also a little bit of a side story with Bernard and his entrance into the afterlife. Very interesting.

It’s the old saying that your life flashes before you eyes before you die. Is she going to die? She keeps asking Bernard that question. There are some big revelations throughout the story, long-held secrets. One, I figured out early on. The others were quite a surprise and rather sad. I loved the flow of the writing. There is some humor amidst the anger and sadness, such is life.  A very bittersweet story but because of the excellent writing, you will love the characters despite their shortcomings. And if you have not read The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, his last novel, you really should.

I happily received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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