Review of I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

I Liked My LifeI Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"I Liked My Life" is a masterful study of grief, life, and the secrets we keep. After Maddy, loving stay-at-home mother, commits suicide, her daughter Eve and husband Brady are left wondering why. The book would still be great even if we kept our sights on those two as they worked through their issues. But we also hear from Maddy herself. Stuck between life and death, Maddy has unfinished business, so we see her attempts to influence the family left behind and rectify some of the fallout, all while hearing about the life they lived before... and after. By all accounts, Maddy did like her life. So why did she kill herself?

I've often said the best books make you examine how you would react in a similar situation, though I found myself fighting against it in this case. I still have both my parents, and the thought of losing either of them, particularly while I was still a teen, is simply unbearable. Fabiaschi paints realistic modern characters with all their flaws and sometimes painful relatability.

Grief, even on a small scale, changes who you are. To date, my most painful loss was my childhood dog, Bonnie, who I had to put to sleep when she was twelve. I was in college and my mother and I had to take her to the vet that last night and say goodbye. When we came home, she and I and my younger sister all went to our separate bedrooms and cried alone. Even the death of a pet takes time to get over and it teaches you about your family and your self. I learned that I can and will make hard choices to help those I love, even if it tears out my heart.

I also learned that not all grieving looks alike, something the book makes a point of demonstrating. And when my mother-in-law passed away more than ten years after I lost my dog, I was able to apply some of the lessons for my husband's family, to be the "helpful person at the funeral" as Jordan Peterson likes to say. "I Liked My Life" reminds us how quickly we can be gone and what we may leave behind. I can only hope that we are all given the chance, as Maddie was, to help our loved ones clean up the mess. At least for a little while.

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