The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go

The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go

by Amy E. Reichert

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501154959
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 61,780
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, Luck, Love & Lemon Pie, The Simplicity of Cider, and The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go, loves to write stories that end well with characters you’d invite to dinner. A wife, mom, amateur chef, Fix-It Mistress, and cider enthusiast, she earned her MA in English Literature and serves on her local library’s board of directors.

Reading Group Guide

This readers group guide for The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Three women grapple with a life-changing secret in this mother-daughter generational story.

Owner of gourmet food truck Grilled G’s and recent widow Gina Zoberski finds comfort cooking up deliciously inventive grilled cheeses for her customers as she struggles through each day, especially when challenged by her critical mother, Lorraine, and her moody daughter, May.

Lorraine expects her family to live up to her high expectations, making sure to appear perfect to the public eye. May is mourning her father and wants nothing more than to do so in her own way. Gina is the perpetual optimist, always aiming to please, but is finding that the brighter side of things is not always so bright.

When Lorraine suffers an unexpected stroke, Gina discovers a family secret that Lorraine has kept hidden for forty years. As her mother’s health fails and her daughter rebels, Gina might find that piecing together the truth may just be the push she needs to let go. . . .

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go opens with a quote from Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent: “The more a daughter knows about the details of her mother’s life—without flinching or whining—the stronger the daughter.” Discuss the quote’s significance. How does it set the tone for the novel?

2. Gina describes her husband, Drew, as the rock of the family. After he died, Gina and May completely disconnected. “Without him, she and May tumbled through each day, flailing in the rushing waters, occasionally bumping into each other” (p.15). Why is Gina and May’s relationship suffering, rather than getting stronger, in the wake of their shared loss? Is either of them at fault for failing to console each other through their grief? How can their bond be mended?

3. How would you characterize Lorraine’s role in her daughters’ lives? Why is she such a source of irritation rather than encouragement, especially to Gina? What are Lorraine’s guiding principles in life? How would you react to Lorraine’s criticisms if you were Gina?

4. Lorraine justifies her decision to keep Joe a secret from her daughters. “Telling the girls wouldn’t change anything in their lives; it would only create an abyss where their perfect family once stood. They didn't need to know what they had lost when they had never even known it existed. You couldn’t miss someone you’d never known” (p. 65–66). What do you think? Should Lorraine have told the truth to Gina and Vicky sooner? How would their lives be different? Is it possible to miss someone you’ve never known?

5. Gina’s family often gives her a hard time for her positive attitude. Can being an optimist ever be a negative? How does Gina’s uplifting disposition give her strength? What does she need to let go of, as the book’s title suggests?

6. Lorraine and Floyd’s marriage transpired out of convenience and security rather than love and admiration. Describe how their union is complex. How do they each benefit from their partnership? Do you understand their reasons for being together? Can a marriage that was established as a business proposal be successful? What does being married mean to you?

7. Discuss the structure of the novel. How does the movement from past to present impact your understanding of Lorraine, Gina, and May? How important is it as a reader to learn of a character’s history? How does each woman’s past shape her present relationships?

8. Gina is frustrated by Vicky’s insinuations that she should start dating. “What all of these people didn’t understand is she couldn’t fast-forward her grief. It wasn’t another item on her checklist she could accomplish then cross out” (p.116). Do you think Vicky is being insensitive to Gina’s situation? How will Gina know when she’s ready to move on? Is there an expected time line for grief?

9. Roza is Lorraine’s closest and most treasured confidant. “Roza was a time capsule of all Lorraine’s best and worst moments, and she had always been there when Lorraine needed her” (p.127). Do you think Roza filled the void left by Joe? How is she a source of comfort for Lorraine? What does their relationship teach you about the endurance of female friendship?

10. What do you make of Vicky’s relationships with Gina and Lorraine? Describe her role in the family. Why do you think the author chose not to have any chapters told from Vicky’s perspective? Would you have liked to learn more about her marital issues, or be given more insight into her adolescence? How would that have changed the novel?

11. Many of the characters in the novel choose to conceal their pain, love, or even their identity. Floyd’s sexuality, Gina’s heartache, and Lorraine’s first marriage are all buried secrets. Why do you think these characters choose to disguise their truths? How are these secrets burdening themselves and their families?

12. There are many parallels in Lorraine and Gina’s lives. They both fell in love with men whom their parents disapproved of. And then they both lost those men and were left having to find the strength to move on for the sake of their children. Despite these similarities, Lorraine was never a source of comfort for Gina. Reflecting on this, Lorraine suggests that perhaps she was so hard on Gina because they were too alike. “You are most critical of the flaws in others that you have yourself” (p.207). Is this an excuse? Do you think Lorraine is a hypocrite? Is it too late to make up for lost time?

13. Discuss the notion of betrayal. How is Lorraine’s secret about Gina and Vicky’s father a betrayal of their trust? Does the truth alter their childhood memories? How does May feel betrayed by her mother’s emotional distance? Do you think the characters are cognizant of their betrayal to those closest to them? Why or why not?

14. How do Gina and May decide to celebrate their memories of Drew? What could Lorraine have learned from them? How do you keep the special memories of a loved one alive?

15. Describe the three women in this mother-daughter generational story. They each have succumbed to emotional and traumatic pain in their lives, impacting how they relate to one another. Were you drawn to one woman more than another? How are they different? Who do you sympathize with the most? What bonds them together? Have they offered any insight into your own relationships with your mother, sister, grandmother, etc.?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. There are so many delicious descriptions of food throughout the novel, from bacon brownies to pierogies to, of course, grilled cheeses. Consider hosting a potluck dinner inspired by the food mentioned in the novel for your next book club meeting. Each member can bring his or her favorite dish!

2. Gina is an obsessive list-maker. She finds them essential to organizing her thoughts. If you don’t already do so, try writing to-do lists either for work or for your personal life. Make sure to cross off each item on the list as you accomplish it. How do you feel once you complete a task? Do you find that to-do lists help your productivity, or are they a distraction?

3. When Gina learns the truth about what her mother had kept hidden, she writes down ten questions in her notebook that she’d like answered—“questions she hoped would help her sort out her muddled emotions” (p.164). This book is divided into ten sections by each of these questions. Now that you’ve read the book, answer these questions as Lorraine, and then as Gina. Next, ask your own parent(s) or grandparent(s) the same questions. What do you learn? Do you feel closer with them?

Customer Reviews

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The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars rounded There’s something so comfortable about a Reichert novel – like those fuzzy warm socks, and stretched out just the way you like it sweater, that simply engulfs you and demands you settle in and enjoy the ride. This novel is no different, even if the characters in this have more issues and struggles to work through than any of her previous stories. Told from the main character Gina’s point of view, with bits from her mother Lorraine and her fourteen year old daughter May, this is a story of expectations, grief, moving on and eventually finding a way to move forward as secrets are revealed and the past weighs on the future. Now to my impressions of the book – it’s my favorite of Reichert’s to date: full of moments past and present, memories and struggles as the women try to reframe their lives in the now, after the griefs, secrets, resentments and struggles from their past. There are secrets galore, big secrets held closely in fear (from Lorraine) that made her a very judgmental, rigid and cold appearing woman. Secrets from Roza, Lorraine’s friend and nanny / auntie to Gina, Vicky and now May. Vicky’s marriage that ‘appears’ wonderful from the outside in: plenty of money, a nice house two hours from her mother, four kids with plenty of activities that leave Vicky alone, unable to communicate with her husband. Gina’s worry that Drew’s death have left May without her favorite parent, and her without her heart. Feeling the ‘push’ to move on from her neighbors and mother, yet unable to find the ‘right’ way to be, as she struggles with her own mother’s voice telling her to be ‘more like’ her sister, and seeming smug in the knowledge that she’d chosen the wrong man to marry. May’s own resentment of her mother for seeming to not care about her, her father’s death or even about anything she does – against the rules or not. All wrapped in their own griefs and questions, every issue has a root in the first big secret- Lorraine’s, and by extension, Roza’s complicity with that silence. With Lorraine’s stroke, the story starts to become one of discovery. A birth certificate and photograph of a man unknown to Gina and Vicky, Lorraine’s admission (to herself as her speech was affected greatly) that her daughters are strong and wonderful women, far more complete and successful than she was. Gina’s penchant for lists: the satisfaction of ticking off an item to be accomplished, the organization, the reliance on them as a sort of talisman to ‘get things done right’. And the food. OH the food – from Gina’s lovely grilled cheese and butter-drenched garlic bread (her junk food of choice) to May’s bacon-caramel brownies, coconut vegan brownies and her journal with thirty three new creations. Vicky’s discovery that her husband hasn’t time to listen, let alone interest, in what’s happening two hours north – and perhaps he never really did. It’s a book that is meant to be experienced. Do it this way. 1> Buy this book 2> Pick the comfy chair 3> Get snacks (you’ll want them) a drink and tissues handy. 4> Put up the do not disturb sign 5> Prepare to escape for a few hours (depending on how fast you read) 6> Come back and thank me – trust me, you’ll want to. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
KrittersRamblings 28 days ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Gina is still mourning the loss of her husband, but she is making ends meet and trying to connect with her daughter, May. Early in the book, Lorraine, Gina's mother has a medical emergency and Gina, May and Gina's sister Vicky have to come together to help Lorraine and maybe put some pieces together as to why Lorraine has become the woman she has without her help. I may have completely confused you by this synopsis, but really there are sister relationships, mother daughter relationships and maybe a big discovery as to the things that happen to you in your past will define your future.
bookaholique 4 months ago
3.5 Two sister's try to navigate life after their mother has a debilitating stroke. I thought this was simply delightful. Such an honest story about mother, daughter and sister relationships. About what we bring to the table - both in strengths and weaknesses. About pulling together while learning to let go. I liked all the characters and thought this was both heart-warming and uplifting. My thanks to Gallery Books and Netgalley.
C_Fowler 6 months ago
The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go is a lovely book about four women and their strengths, their secrets, and their grief. The book is narrated by Gina, her daughter, May, and Gina's Mom, Lorraine, and also features Gina's younger sister, Victoria, and Lorraine's best friend, Roza. It centers on Gina, who operates a grilled cheese sandwich lunch truck (Grilled G's) and her relationships with her daughter, sister, and mother. Widowed for two years, she is still grieving the loss of her husband and finds solace in creating incredible and unexpected combinations of grilled cheese sandwiches. Unfortunately, she is still so wrapped up in her grief that she doesn't notice how much her fourteen-year-old daughter suffering. Then Gina's mother has a stroke, and the world as she and her family knew it is turned upside down, and secrets that were never supposed to be told are revealed. This book is so well-written that I was immediately drawn into the midst of this family and able to relate to each woman's situation and feelings. I laughed, cried and ached for all the characters and finished the book with a smile on my face. I highly recommend this book and also recommend that you have the fixings for grilled cheese sandwiches nearby when you read it. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
Elizabeth_Cam 9 months ago
As a fan of grilled cheeses and can do attitudes, The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go was an absolute hit in my book. It is on the whole an endearing read that is both tragic, heartwarming, and inspiring. The story follows a woman, Gina, and Gina’s mother, sister, and daughter. The tale at its core is about the lengths people go to do what they believe is the right thing, and it gives new meaning to the term compassion. The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go is a great read, and after finishing it, I gave it to my mom who is enjoying it now.
Elizabeth_Cam 9 months ago
As a fan of grilled cheeses and can do attitudes, The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go was an absolute hit in my book. It is on the whole an endearing read that is both tragic, heartwarming, and inspiring. The story follows a woman, Gina, and Gina’s mother, sister, and daughter. The tale at its core is about the lengths people go to do what they believe is the right thing, and it gives new meaning to the term compassion. The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go is a great read, and after finishing it, I gave it to my mom who is enjoying it now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book and identifying with all the characters .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Gina Zoberski is trying to adjust to life without her husband, May misses her dad like crazy and thinks her mom doesn’t miss her dad enough. Gina’s mom, Lorraine continues to find fault in everything Gina says and does. When Lorraine has a debilitating stroke her real story comes to light and it is surprising. I know all too well that dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard. You need to find that balance of grieving in public and in private. My heart ached for Gina and May. Gina put on a brave face and a smile every day as she tried to move forward. Lorraine still took her to task about everything. May had closed herself off from her friends, even those willing to be there for her no matter what. Amy Reichert has penned an emotional story but it is filled with light moments too. Gina owns a food truck, Grilled G’s, that sells gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. She is always coming up with new recipes and she has a customer that brings her unusual ingredients to try. May also has culinary skills, she excels at baking brownies with some unique twists of her own. This author’s stories always have a food element and I love that! The author handles the family dynamic very well. I enjoyed how the story unfolded. A big secret is revealed that shines everything that has happened in an entirely new light. I became invested in these characters and that made me very emotional and even had me reaching for a tissue at the end of the story. Set not far from where I live, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, I loved all the references to places I knew. She mentions just one of the many Milwaukee festivals, Polish Fest too, but you don’t have to be from Wisconsin to enjoy the book. Her words create the imagery to bring you right here. This is a wonderful story about mothers and their daughters. Moving and genuine with strong female characters. An absolutely “perfect escape”. I am so glad I found this Wisconsin author. I have enjoyed her previous books, Love, Life and Lemon Pie, and The Simplicity of Cider. In fact, The Simplicity of Cider was one of my Best Reads of 2017. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is waiting not so patiently on my Kindle.
booklover6460 More than 1 year ago
Wow! This book was a wonderful read. I found myself flipping through the pages and enjoying the story of Gina. No matter what Gina experienced, she tried to find the positive side of things. If we could all do that, I think the world would be a better place. But when a medical emergency unleashes a hidden secret, Gina and her sister have to come to grips with a shocking discovery. However, at the same time, Gina and daughter have to learn how to connect with each other and share the love they each feel for the husband and father they both loved. Such a poignant story of life, family relationships, acceptance, love, and loss. The way each character deals with their individual crises reflects the type of personality they possess and yet they are influenced by the relationships and dynamics of their family. I really enjoyed this book and will make sure to read more by this author. Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a honest opinion.
SkyGreene More than 1 year ago
The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go is an interesting read about three females of different ages in a family and their struggles through life. The detail of their emotions and thoughts are spectacular throughout the story. Each character is well developed and I love how chapters flip between each of them and their point of view. It all meshes together well and makes the story even more powerful. I especially loved Gina’s complicated story of trying to overcome her husband’s death, trying to be a single parent to a difficult teenager, taking care of her mother who just had a stroke and learning a deep secret that would change her life, and her attempt at being optimistic through it all. As is always the case with Reichert’s books, food is a central feature. Gina’s food truck Grilled G’s and her delicious and creative variations of grilled cheese sandwiches will make you want to get your skillet out and make one for yourself.
KatsNook More than 1 year ago
5 Stars for The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go! The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go is a heartwarming story of forgiveness and overcoming loss. Three generations of women have been dealing with a painful loss and struggling to be a family. Gina is a young widow and is busy with her food truck business and her rebellious teenage daughter. Ever since the loss of her husband, Gina has been trying to be the strong parent that her daughter May needs. But she’s been failing at this. Her sunny disposition is annoying everyone, but it is the only way she knows how to deal with her grief. May misses her dad every day and is handling her grief the only way she knows how, by keeping her distance from her mom and friends. To May, no one understands her grief and her mom’s avoidance of the subject is making their disconnect stronger by the minute. Lorraine is Gina’s strict and overbearing mom who has always made known of Gina’s faults. But Lorraine has been keeping a secret that would shatter her perfect, motherly image. When Lorraine has a stroke, the family bands together to support her during her healing. When the secret Lorraine has been keeping is revealed, Gina is forced to put aside her sunny disposition and find the right path for her family to heal. Author Amy E. Reichert created an emotional story that touched my heart. The story is told in alternating POV’s of Gina, Lorraine and May, which allowed me to make a connection with these characters: Gina and I share the same birthday (July 7) and as a fellow Cancer zodiac sign I understand her need to make everyone happy. Lorraine’s struggles after her stroke brought me to tears as I imagined how my mother currently feels, as a stroke survivor. And May’s withdrawal and anger was genuine, and I understood her pain. With the alternating POV’s we see how each person’s actions affected each other. I’ve enjoyed this author’s previous book because of the family connection she shows in her story. It was moving to see the three generations overcome their differences and come together as a family. I love Ms. Reichert’s writing and her stories warm my heart. There is also a mix of humor and mouthwatering food that adds a feeling of comfort after I read her books. I love how characters from her other books make an appearance, tying all her books together as one big family. The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go is a book that will touch your heart and remind you to cherish your time with the people you love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Gallery Books and Netgalley for my digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go is heartbreaking and heart warming all at once, if thats possible. The story follows Lorraine, her 2 daughters Gina and Vicky, and Gina's daughter May. Lorraine is difficult and harshly judges Gina. May and Gina are each struggling with the loss of Drew, May's father and Gina's husband. Lorraine suffers from a sudden stroke and her daughters end up discovering a family secret that will change everything. Gina will realize that her and Lorraine have more in common than what she realized. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the different female characters and I had a hard time putting the back down because I had to know what happened next. The book has its upbeat, positive moments and there were times I smiled and the next page cried. I think this would be a great mother/daughter read because it is definitely about the bonds of family even things may be strained. I haven't read any of Amy Reichert's other works, but I am planning on doing so because I loved this book so much. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for heartwarming read.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Zowza!!! (I saw this word in a book I read this week, sorry I can't remember which to give credit to, but I love it!! I loved this book!!! It was filled with so many great characters. There were so many times that I just wanted to haul off and slap a couple of them. They grated my nerves so much, especially Lorraine. That was, of course, before I started shedding tears for those very same people. The story was amazing, the writing was amazing and I'm still crying over it. Even after I took a break before writing this review. A story that was fraught with emotions and surprises that I never saw coming. An excellent read that I thought was this author's best one yet! I will always say "yes, please" to Amy Reichert's books. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold and Pocket Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book gave me all the feels. I was crying from chapter one! It's a book about strong women (my favorite) who are each suffering their own grief. Gina is a young widow with a teenage daughter, May. She runs a delicious sounding food truck called Grilled G's. May struggles with the loss of her father and feeling like a normal teenager. Then Gina's mom, Lorraine, suffers a stroke leaving her unable to speak and in a time of great reflection. Gina soon discovers the pieces to a family secret. This quest for the truth brings the whole family together including her sister, Vicky, and her mom's best friend, Roza. This book is so well written you feel as if you're going through the stages of grief with them. It's certainly a page turner! It's truly a heartwarming tale that makes you want to call your mom and fall in love. I would recommend this book. I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Xkoqueen More than 1 year ago
Gina is the optimist in Amy E. Reichert’s The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go.  She maintains her optimism even though she has lost the love of her life, her mother is unapproachable, and her daughter treats her with nothing but disdain.  She finds solace in her food truck business.  The business was the brainchild of her late husband, who creatively named Gina’s grilled cheese restaurant on wheels, Grilled G’s! I was really disheartened by the relationship between Gina and her daughter. May, is sullen over the loss of her father, but instead of turning toward her mother for support, she shuns her.  In fact, she is nothing but rude and disrespectful to her mother throughout much of the book.  Families falling apart after loss are hard books to read. When Gina’s mother, Lorraine, suffers a major stroke, her long-kept secrets are spilled.  The trifecta of medical issues, skeletons in the closet, and badly behaved teenagers, begin the unraveling of life as they know it.  However, that might not be a bad thing.  This dysfunctional family, made up of individually strong women, needs to be shaken up so that they are forced to regroup and begin again.  Ms. Reichert has written a complex family drama with fragile yet rich relationships.  The similarity of Gina and Lorraine’s history juxtaposed to how they responded is a historically interesting social statement.  The different choices made by Gina and her sister, Vicky, as well as their parent’s responses to those choices, create further strain on the family dynamics.  The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go features food and culture from the state of Wisconsin as well as some seriously lovable lead female characters.
AmyBooks More than 1 year ago
With this literary meal, Amy E. Reichert dives into a multi-generational tale of mothers and daughters navigating life milestones that resonate with many people today - especially the "sandwich generation" that is focused on parental care and child care at the same time. A story wrapped in grilled cheese and brownies, Gina is navigating life as a recent-ish widow, oldest daughter and mother of a middle-schooler the best that she can with daily to-do lists. When her mother suffers a serious stroke, the stage is set for discovering her mother's "dark secret" that has shaped life for all of them for decades. At the same time, her distant daughter is discovering a budding relationship with a classmate as they play video games and watch Netflix in the basement. Once again telling the story in Milwaukee, this time the city of Milwaukee is not as much a character in the tale as Milwaukee and Door County have been in earlier works. All in all, a good read that reminds you how family decisions can ripple for decades and also how often times mothers and daughters are more alike than they want to admit. Free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Book is available May15th.
UpAllNightBB More than 1 year ago
What would you do if everything you knew to be true was turned upside down and you found out the world as you knew it was a façade? That’s what happens to Gina in Amy E. Reichert’s The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go. Regina Zoberski, a single mom, is running Grilled G’s, a gourmet grilled cheese food truck, while raising her teenage daughter May alone, after losing her husband. Trying to fit the broken pieces of her life together, while staying strong for her daughter, Gina already has her hands full. When her mom becomes ill, she finds herself torn in yet another direction. Her oppressive mother is determined to keep Gina on her toes until a deep-rooted family secret is suddenly revealed. Gina talks her sister into helping her get to the bottom of their family history and unravel the truths one thread at a time as they question their mother Lorraine, and her lifelong best friend and the girl’s nanny Roza. As they find the truths of their past, their relationships strengthen, both with each other and with their mom. I really related to Gina’s relationship with her Lorraine. I think they had a similar bond, or lack thereof, as my mom and me, and I understood the vacancy in their kinship. It gave me hope to see how they slowly mended their hearts and built their bond as Lorraine fought to live and Gina fought to understand her mother, realizing their time together was suddenly limited. One must also at least mention the food aspect of this book. Oh, how my mouth watered for those grilled cheese sandwiches! Sweet, savory, crispy, and gooey. Then, throw in May’s love of all things brownies, and I may have gained 5 pounds reading this book. Delicious! The title of this book so perfectly summed up Gina’s life perspective. She didn’t have the easiest childhood, then her adulthood provided her with plenty of lemons, and yet she relentlessly produced lemonade for herself and those around her. When life got tough, she got tougher. When she discovered the deeply buried secrets, she did something about it. What a beautiful outlook to have on life. She was a true example of seeing the world as half full, rather than half empty, a message we can all hold onto. A fantastically food-induced 4 star! **Review by Amy, Late Night Reviewer for Up All Night with Books**
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go is a captivating, heart-wrenching and touching story. Lorraine realized that the easiest way to do something was not necessarily the best way. When the love of her life, Joe, died, instead of bringing up her two children alone, Lorraine sought the help of her estranged parents. Her father insisted that she marry well. Within weeks she was married to a man who would provide for her, and her children, financially. This would not be a marriage based on love though. Floyd needed a ready-made family and Lorraine, needed financial security. The catch was, unfortunately, that her children were never to know that Joe, was their real father. It would be as if he never existed. This secret would cost Lorraine, dearly. Gina always tried to look on the bright side of life. Some days; however, it seemed to be too much of a task. Gina, loved her mother, Lorraine, she just didn’t like her, sometimes. Lorraine was always finding fault with Gina, and the way she raised, May, her daughter. Gina lost her husband two years ago and although she knew May’s coldness towards her, was just grief over losing her father; it still stung. When Lorraine’s health failed her, Gina discovered the secret; Lorraine had buried for forty years. Although this truth was shocking, it was the catalyst for Gina’s healing. Gina, like her mother, had married a man she loved but lost him. Vicky, Gina’s sister, had married for convenience only, so it was no surprise when she found herself, caught in a loveless marriage. Neither Gina nor Vicky could move on with their lives until they learned to truly let go; Gina, the man she lost, and Vicky, the marriage that brought her pain. This book is about grief, letting go, and learning to live again. The Optimist’s Guide To Letting Go is a captivating story that touches the heart. Thank you, Galley Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
Cyndy G S More than 1 year ago
If there is comfort food then this is what I call a comfort book. I read this book in a little over twenty-four hours. I have read all of Amy E. Reichert’s books and this latest one did not disappoint. I loved the foodie theme of the book that featured grilled cheese and brownies. Gina owns a food truck called Grilled G’s while her increasingly distant and somewhat difficult daughter May is obsessed with making all kinds of brownies that sound fabulous. Gina has been recently widowed and that just completely devastated their once close knit family. Gina’s mother Lorraine is a critical force to be reckoned with, unfortunately Lorraine has her reasons for being this way and her own secrets and tale to tell. Gina just cannot get past the sudden death of her husband but an unfortunate turn of events forces Gina , her sister , May and Lorraine to face truths and deal with a long buried family secret. What a wonderful tale of mother’s , daughters and the choices that they make for appearances or to keep their family safe and secure . This was a heartwarming story, like I said I call this one a “Comfort Book”.