An Amazon Best of the Month Selection for May 2018
A slyly funny coming-of-age novel about a young woman fumbling her way into the mysteries of loss and the travails of adulthood as she tries to make sense of a vanished mother's legacy.
When 22-year-old Olivia learned that her mother had only months to live, she pulled up roots, leaving Vassar and her career plans far behind to be with her mother for her last days. And yet, just four months after her mother's death, everyone in Olivia's family already seems ready to move on. Her brothers are settled comfortably in careers and families of their own; her father has already started to date again, inviting a woman named June on a family trip. Still reeling from the loss, Olivia looks for a new start of her own, throwing herself headlong into Manhattan's fast-moving media world, where she is alternately demeaned by bosses and pursued by men.
But as Olivia tries to piece together an adulthood without her mother to guide her, she makes a shocking discovery: a secret romantic correspondence her mother had with a man who only signed each letter “F.” As she tries to untangle the mystery of F, Olivia will journey halfway across the world, to an ashram in rural India, on a quest that will reconfigure everything Olivia thought she knew about her family and her own place in an increasingly complex world.
A profoundly moving and keenly observed contemplation of the debts we owe to the past and the ways we discover our futures, Alternative Remedies for Loss is the rare sort of book that can break and mend your heart in a single and unforgettable read.
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When Olivia’s mother dies, Olivia is cast adrift, unmoored from the life she lived before. Struggling to find her way in a world without her mother, Olivia begins a journey that will take her across the world and just maybe help her figure out who she wants to be. Alternative Remedies for Loss is an interesting mix between a coming of age story and chick lit. Olivia’s actions sometimes felt a bit too over the top, crafted particularly to give the impression that she was lost. However, her exploits were entertaining to read about, although they were sometimes a bit cringe-worthy. The writing style made it easy to fly through the book. I did feel a bit distant from the characters though, which diminished the emotional impact of some parts of the story. Olivia was an interesting character. At times, I found her to be very relatable. At other times, I found her pretty annoying. Over the course of the book, her character growth was interesting to watch. While I liked most of the secondary characters, they didn’t quite have the depth I wanted them to have. For family-oriented stories, I want to connect to all the family members and feel like I understand who they are and their dynamics. Since the reader is only able to view them from Olivia’s perspective, they felt a bit one-dimensional. I think that Alternative Remedies for Loss would make a great book club pick. There’s a lot in this book that would stimulate good discussions (and give you wanderlust!) *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
What a promising premise! Olivia Harris is entering her final semester of college when her mother is diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Within months, her mother dies. Olivia comes unglued, no longer the center of anyone's universe, least of all her own. Will she find a way to live with loss and move on with her own life? I sure hope so, but I won't know for sure because I had to put aside the miserable slog through Olivia's misery. The writing sings, particularly in the first few pages which hooked me utterly with elegant, swift descriptions of India and promising, near poetic prose. I'm placing my money on the most unlucky savior/companion for Olivia' emerging, the hapless and bright June, her father's new girlfriend. That would make for the most satisfying resolution, but, as I said, I'll never know for sure. There was no character to connect with, to be interested enough in to keep going; Olivia does not strike me as curious, interesting, promising in the least, a lost little princess whining and whinging her way through the world. Promising writer, interesting concept, lackluster result.