Review: The After Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer

 

Title: The After Wife

Author: Gigi Levangie Grazer

Published: Ballantine July 2012

Synopsis: L.A. is no place for widows. This is what forty-four-year-old Hannah Bernal quickly discovers after the tragic death of her handsome and loving husband, John. Misery and red-rimmed eyes are little tolerated in the land of the beautiful. But life stumbles on: Hannah’s sweet three-year-old daughter, Ellie, needs to be dropped off at her overpriced preschool, while Hannah herself must get back to work in order to pay the bills on “Casa Sugar,” the charming Spanish-styled bungalow they call home. Fortunately, Hannah has her “Grief Team” for emotional support: earth mother and fanatical animal lover Chloe, who finds a potential blog post in every moment; aspiring actress Aimee, who has her cosmetic surgeon on speed dial; and Jay, Hannah’s TV producing partner, who has a penchant for Mr. Wrong. But after a series of mishaps and bizarre occurrences, one of which finds Hannah in a posh Santa Monica jail cell, her friends start to fear for her sanity. To make matters worse, John left their financial affairs in a disastrous state. And when Hannah is dramatically fired from her latest producing gig, she finds herself in danger of losing her house, her daughter, and her mind. One night, standing in her backyard under a majestic avocado tree, in the throes of grief, Hannah breaks down and asks, “Why?” The answer that comes back—Why not?—begins an astounding journey of discovery and transformation that leads Hannah to her own truly extraordinary life after death.

Status: Read from July 02 to 03, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Ballantine/Edelweiss}

My Thoughts:

The After Wife is a surprisingly hilarious, poignant yet uplifting read which I really enjoyed. Despite dealing sensitively with the serious themes of grief, loss and healing, Grazer keeps the tone light and I loved Grazer’s sense of humour, wry and ridiculous in turn.

Hannah is a sympathetic and likeable protagonist, her grief at losing her husband so suddenly is overwhelming and she struggles to deal with her pain. Mired in self pity, she asks ‘Why?’ and receives an answer from an unexpected source, the former owner of her home Casa Sugar, who happens to be deceased. Hannah is pretty sure she is going crazy, especially as spirits start to appear everywhere, desperate for her to pass on messages to their loved ones, but she doesn’t have time to think about it too much, she has to deal with raising her three year old daughter, Ellie, alone, losing her job and discovering her husband’s insurance has lapsed. And dating.
Luckily Hannah can rely on her Grief Team for both comfort and comic relief. Loveable, if slightly absurd caricatures, Jay – her fashionista BFF with bad taste in men, Aimee who is robbed of all expression by Botox and plastic surgery, and Chloe who has a penchant for rescue dogs and bouncing cheques, support Hannah and Ellie in their time of need with questionable advice, vodka and colonics.
Grazer pokes fun at the worst examples of excess by the upscale residents of California’s Santa Monica and sprinkles pop culture references through out the story. I thought at times it was a little heavy handed but it provides the ideal setting for the story.

Funny, engaging and moving, The After Wife is a wonderful light read sure to charm you on a long summer’s day (or a cold winters eve) that proves life is for living.

Available To Purchase

@Amazon I @BookDepository

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patty
    Jul 07, 2012 @ 10:05:05

    I think I read another book by this author that I wasn’t that fond of…but you give me hope for this one!

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  2. Ashley Prince
    Jul 07, 2012 @ 10:27:57

    I saw this book featured on a blog and the title/cover captured my attention. When I saw this review pop up in my reader I needed to see what it was about.

    This sounds really good! Great review and I will definitely be getting this when I can. It sounds really different from most.

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  3. Mirjam
    Jul 07, 2012 @ 16:38:57

    “Hilarious, poignant yet uplifting” sounds very good to me! This is not my usual cup of tea, but I like a light, fun read and do not shy away from heavier subjects like grief and loss. I’m glad to see that the fun cover reflects the story. I’ll add this one to my list! 🙂

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  4. melliane
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 07:14:52

    oh it sounds nice, I didn’t know this one, but it’s always a pleasure to read a fun book like that. I think I need to check it now. thank you.

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  5. Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    Jul 09, 2012 @ 10:23:51

    This sounds like an intriguing read. I’m currently going through a quarter-life crisis, and the fact that I’m no longer an immortal teen is weighing on my mind–I dread the thought of something happening to my husband. Very sobering.

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