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Posted June 24, 2010
I just bought the first two books in THE FUNERAL PLANNER series and loved them! I'm looking forward to the third one. The author cleverly inserted ads relating to the storyline. I learned about the Dignity Memorial Network for funeral services, and Legacy.com for online obituaries, and Forethought Financial for pre-need insurance--for when you plan ahead for that end of life celebration in the sky! And I discovered Eternal Image - a company that makes urns and caskets with Major League Baseball and Star Trek logos on them for all those trekkie fans who want to beam up. What's also cool is that some of the proceeds go to the National Hospice Foundation so you get to feel good knowing your purchase is helping people depart in comfort and with dignity. There's also a promo code for 1800Flowers-a nice touch-which came in handy when my best friend's mom passed away. I highly recommend these books. Not only are they a great read about being an entrepreneur in a fish out of water story, but all these extra goodies are a pleasant surprise and wonderful bonus!
- Joss Stone gives a stellar performance in The Funeral Planner Digital Series. This is a really cool and different series, with both short and long versions, as well as bonus material. Reminds me of "Sex in the City" if Carrie Bradshaw and friends entered the world of funerals and brought fashion and life to it! Joss is amazing in this! She truly lights up the screen as a funeral-fashionista introducing us to end of life products such as Star Trek Urns (brought to you by Eternal Image!). She is refreshing and delightful and I hope this gets made into a movie or TV series so I can see more of her as the ever hilarious and off-beat Eve!
Posted June 15, 2010
The United States is in grief. After the death of American sweethearts, terrorist attacks and a series of ongoing catastrophic natural disasters, the American people are universally stricken with grief which is why President Stone has assigned Madison Banks to head the Bereavement Specialist Committee. Unsure of her abilities but powered by ambition and imagination Madison takes on the task of tackling the nation's grief, utilizing her knowledge of death and loss which she learned in the Funeral Planning business, the group of loved ones that surround her, and a great pair of Messiah pumps.
The plot is great. It deals with a universal issue of grief which everyone can relate to. The president attacking bereavement on a national level is incredibly unique and frankly an idea that the current administration should consider.
The characters are pretty darn loveable. Madison Banks is the All American career woman who refuses to be stopped. Her lack of fashion sense is ironic and hilarious which allows for Eve's presence in the novel who is very easily my favorite character because she seems to have the best grip on life as an ideal working woman who successfully combines work and play.
Overall, there could not have been a better time for me to read this. Like all the characters, I am suffering with my own grief. My uncle is still in critical care after a heart attack. After focusing all my attention on my uncle, my aunt back in LA died of lung cancer. There are a lot of mixed feelings of distress and guilt. The people around me did the typical thing, they tell me to just get over it and I'll be okay, but The Funeral Planner is getting comfortable with the idea that it is okay to experience grief. Grief is not shameful, it is human and in the context of the novel, patriotic.
The Funeral Planner is more than entertaining, it is helpful to living. Everyone should read it.
The Funeral Planner Goes to Washington by Lynn Isenberg is the second installment in The Funeral Planner series. It follows Maddy Banks as she travels to Washington to help solve a national grief crisis. Eve, Sierra, Victor and Arthur all make a return in this book, helping Maddy realize herself and plan the great event of the book My Grief Day, which aims to help solve the grief crisis.
An interesting note about this book is the change of grief from a personal experience to a larger experience overall. While the book still focuses on grief as a very personal experience, it also helps bring grief into the larger view of an entire nation. As the United States is racked by grief, we see grief as a collective feeling: something that is not only experienced by individuals but also shared by an entire nation. I have heard of things called national grief, or heard that "the nation grieves" before, but never before has it come to me so clearly. As Lynn describes the faces and movement of people around the nation, who all share in this collective grief, its reality comes more clearly into focus.
The secondary focus of this book is on Maddy's own personal problem with work. While she has been able to face and accept the grief that haunted her in the first book, this time Maddy is faced with the problems of her work habits. She is a workaholic, something that is hard for her to admit.
I don't think I've ever seen overworking addressed in quite this way before. It brings to mind many questions, such as: if Maddy is clearly experiencing workaholism, then how many other people suffer from this? And is it natural, or have we created this through our busy society? And if it is, then do most achieving people in our country suffer from it?
I enjoyed reading The Funeral Planner Goes to Washington. It was a fun read, and made me question my own work and life habits, in reflection of Maddy's clearly imbalanced life. It's a great addition to The Funeral Planner series and I hope she is coming out with more.