I Liked My Life

I Liked My Life

"A heartbreaking and ultimately heartwarming read about life, death, and family." —PopSugar, A Best Winter 2016 BookIn the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? comes a story from debut author Abby Fabiaschi that is "as absorbing as it is illuminating, and as witty as it is heartbreaking."Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellen...

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Title:I Liked My Life
Author:Abby Fabiaschi
Rating:
ISBN:1250084873
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:272 pages

I Liked My Life Reviews

  • Elyse
    Oct 30, 2016

    It 'must' be a prerequisite to be "the cutest" of guys to be a fireman!!!! --- but that's a

    small tidbit joke for those who read this book....( what follows before had me laughing in stitches) ...think grill -patio - father/daughter dinner time.

    It felt good to laugh in this novel. It's a heartbreaking story!!!!

    This is the first book I've read by Abby Fabiaschi --which makes sense - it's Abby's debut novel. 'Congrats to her!!! Terrific first novel.

    I do have a few critical thoughts to share: (

    It 'must' be a prerequisite to be "the cutest" of guys to be a fireman!!!! --- but that's a

    small tidbit joke for those who read this book....( what follows before had me laughing in stitches) ...think grill -patio - father/daughter dinner time.

    It felt good to laugh in this novel. It's a heartbreaking story!!!!

    This is the first book I've read by Abby Fabiaschi --which makes sense - it's Abby's debut novel. 'Congrats to her!!! Terrific first novel.

    I do have a few critical thoughts to share: ( NOT ABOUT THE STORY ITSELF)

    .....I want to talk a little about the structure.

    Abby has created a structure of writing - storytelling- that seems very popular - and common to me in the past couple of years.....in where the main characters each take turns with the narration. To be honest --I'm getting a little bored with this style of writing. I don't know one iota about writing -- but I do read many books. I'm having difficulty finding words to explain what I don't like about this style, but here is what happens: my stomach gets in knots - I feel impatient somewhat - I begin to resent the NEXT NAME at the top of the chapter. When I see the name Madeline -then Eve - then Brady - each taking their turns ( alternating chapters like good little soldiers) ....I feel a little irritated. I'm sorry --- I can't explain fully why that is.

    So... my natural 'physical- gut' reactions were working along side me WHILE reading the heart of this story.

    A FEW BASIC FACTS OF AT THE START OF THE STORY:

    We know Madeline commits suicide --

    She doesn't leave a note

    She seemed mostly happy

    She jumped off the roof of the Wellesley College Library--(my mind had a field day with this 'fact'.....in a way that gave me chills....for much of the story)

    The three narrators are Madeline ( Maddy), Eve, and Brady

    POSITIVES ABOUT THIS BOOK:

    ...Eve, the teenage daughter's narration stands out as the strongest character to me. Abby is excellent at comic-sarcasm dialogue which comes through her character: 'Eve'.

    Her mom has committed suicide- the funeral has been over for some time now. Eve is no longer working at the Y.... and she is hanging around the house alone. Her dad is at work.

    Here is a sample excerpt- voice- from Eve:

    "I think it's possible daytime TV kills brain cells. I'm only a week into "The Young and the Restless" and most of the cast as already slept together. The only entertaining part is imagining my mom's take. 'I have yet to see anyone pause to put on a condom'. All of these people must have gonorrhea by now. Or it takes an awful lot of Botox to always look that surprised. Or He's a second rate personal trainer. He doesn't drive a BMW. Fun as it is to crack up with a ghost, I'm getting dumber sitting on that couch".

    A beautiful part - sad - challenging as hell - yet 'beautiful in the way life is when tragedy brings people together, is the relationship between Brady and Eve. They are both hurting - morning the loss of Maddy. At first they seemed to be morning very privately - individually- and different... but at some point they merged together more.

    "The note of proof that out of freaking nowhere, it's no longer 'me' versus 'him'; it's 'us versus 'them', where them is everyone who didn't lose her. We're a team. A totally dysfunctional team, but still".

    Eve has one more year of high school. She wants to leave their town - Massachusetts -because she can't seem to get away from being "the girl who's mother jumped off a building". She gets accepted to Exeter, in New Hampshire---( very unusual to be excepted for just one year left of school: the senior year).

    Does she go? I'm not giving spoilers away! She also talks about going away to college - maybe Texas - Poor dad... right?/! Our kids grow up and move away!

    Many issues are going on soon after the death of Maddy: There are practical daily living choices: take-in meals- therapy - prom - shopping for a prom dress while morning - sex talk -Drinking and driving talk -birthdays- outside neighbors - ( casserole women who want to date Brady)-- best friend to Maddy named Paige who is morning her best friend who entangles herself too much with Eve and Brady. There is a journal that Maddy had been writing in for at least two years before her death. Both Brady and Eve read it...study it ...discover things...and have their own memories- thoughts and feelings left to deal with. Secrets get revealed.

    There is Rory.....( the Elementary School Teacher that Maddy picks to be Brady's wife. Of course Maddy sends cosmic ghost messages to the ones she loves best! She can pester Brady's subconscious with carnal thoughts...."Rory's beautiful and wonderful"....

    Maddy becomes the busy-body ghost -- even a kick-ass humorous ghost "don't you want to see her naked"? Ha! :)

    Eve is bright, independent, popular with her peers, perceptive, sensible, sometimes bitchy in an adorable way, and completely a girl after my own heart! Eve simply rocks...definitely my favorite character.

    My final thoughts are MIXED!!! Many strengths-- much was authentic feeling -

    but not all of it.

    I still enjoyed this novel very much, but it had some hiccups in my opinion, too. I thought the ending of the story was weak - ineffective to the greater theme.

    Heck -for a first novel -Abby did a great job. Eve especially is worth our time!

    Exploring loss of a parent - is worth our time!

    I, too, was a child who lost a parent. I still find value reading about families who must face these type of challenges. I 'do' recommend this novel - it has heart -and themes worth exploring.....( don't mind my hiccups- they might not even be noticed by other readers). Amy has talent! I'll look forward to her next book!

    Thank you St. Martin's Press, Netgalley, and Abby Fabiaschi

    3.5

  • Stephanie
    Dec 04, 2016

    starts with a family torn apart by a mother's suicide. A couple of months ago, Maddy had jumped from the roof of the library building where she regularly volunteered. Her husband, Brady, and her teenaged daughter, Eve, are left wondering why --- and how their own behavior may have prompted Maddy's unhappiness.

    As a ghost, Maddy prompts both Brady and Eve to better understand and to move on with their lives. This supern

    starts with a family torn apart by a mother's suicide. A couple of months ago, Maddy had jumped from the roof of the library building where she regularly volunteered. Her husband, Brady, and her teenaged daughter, Eve, are left wondering why --- and how their own behavior may have prompted Maddy's unhappiness.

    As a ghost, Maddy prompts both Brady and Eve to better understand and to move on with their lives. This supernatural element is well interwoven and feels natural.

    The story progresses in alternating points of view told by Maddy, Brady, and Eve. The chapters are short and the plot moves at a good pace. The character development is wonderful! While the characters are flawed, they are easy to relate to emotionally.

    I love Maddy's words to live by below. The quote may change in the final published version, but felt compelled to share.

    I highly recommend this gem to reader's of Contemporary or Women's Fiction. I look forward to reading more by

    ! This is one of my most enjoyed books of the year!

    is scheduled to be published on 1/31/2017.

    Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing an ARC!

  • Diane S ☔
    Dec 08, 2016

    3.5 Brady and Eve, father and teenage daughter struggle to find a connection, a way through their grief, after their mother, wife's suicide. Maddie though is watching from the beyond, prodding and poking when necessary to help the little family she left behind.

    This book surprised me, I am not a big reader of women's fiction and if not for the reviews of a few trusted friends, probably would have let this one pass me by. Another début novel, the writing is fantastic, and despite the seriousness o

    3.5 Brady and Eve, father and teenage daughter struggle to find a connection, a way through their grief, after their mother, wife's suicide. Maddie though is watching from the beyond, prodding and poking when necessary to help the little family she left behind.

    This book surprised me, I am not a big reader of women's fiction and if not for the reviews of a few trusted friends, probably would have let this one pass me by. Another début novel, the writing is fantastic, and despite the seriousness of the subject, surprisingly humorous at times and honest at others. The two lead characters we root for, their emotions and thoughts, reactions very realistic. The insertion of Maddie from above actually worked for me, her thoughts and feelings we come to know from herself and also from the journal she left behind. It would be easy for this, and my usual complaint about women's fiction, to become overly dramatic, but the author uses an even tone throughout which kept this from tipping over to the maudlin.

    There were a few complaints, some late plot points that I felt both convoluted and unnecessary, but on the whole I enjoyed this and will be looking forward to reading more novels from this talented author.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Christine
    Jan 06, 2017

    I Liked My Life is an exceptionally good debut novel by Ms. Abby Fabiaschi. I absolutely loved it. Without a doubt it will make my top ten list of 2017 reads; if I had finished it a week earlier, I would have bounced a book off my 2016 list to make room for it.

    This is a superb character study of two people, Brady and Eve, especially Eve. The story has great depth and is very moving, bringing me to tears (good tears) at the end. Madeleine (Maddy), wife of Brady and mother of 17-year-old Eve, has

    I Liked My Life is an exceptionally good debut novel by Ms. Abby Fabiaschi. I absolutely loved it. Without a doubt it will make my top ten list of 2017 reads; if I had finished it a week earlier, I would have bounced a book off my 2016 list to make room for it.

    This is a superb character study of two people, Brady and Eve, especially Eve. The story has great depth and is very moving, bringing me to tears (good tears) at the end. Madeleine (Maddy), wife of Brady and mother of 17-year-old Eve, has committed suicide by jumping off the roof of a library. The tale is told from the perspectives of these three characters. I sometimes find this method of storytelling disruptive to the flow, but in this case it worked well. I was impressed by how REAL these people are, including Maddy who is hovering above her family, not on earth, but not quite in heaven. A supernatural element? Perhaps, but who are we to say? I thought it worked well. From her vantage point Maddy is able to read minds and telegraph ideas and suggestions to those on earth. Her goal is to bring Eve and Brady together and to find Brady the right partner (this is so NOT a romance) to help both him and Eve come to terms with their loss. Though this is a book dealing with serious issues, there is a steady flow of comedic relief coming primarily from the thoughts and words of the main characters. I loved all three of these people and felt very involved with their issues.

    I was glued to the story 100% of the way; I was given so much to ponder. The narrative is pacy, and the ending is terrific. I was pleased to see an epilogue. This novel is so well done, and I will remember and think about it for a very long time.

    Kudos, Ms. Fabiaschi!

    Highly recommended.

    I wish to thank Net Galley, St. Martin’s Press and Ms. Abby Fabiaschi for an advanced copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are mine alone and not biased in any way.

  • Linda O'Donnell
    Feb 01, 2017

    "I have quietly stopped being me."

    Death seems to seep into our inner sensibilities and it leaves a stain for which there is no effacing. It takes up residence and has a pulse of its own. It rings its staccato rhythm in beat after beat of such painfilled loss.

    Brady Starling and his seventeen year old daughter, Eve, are caught up in the storm and aftermath of the suicide of Maddy, wife and mother. Broken by this reality, they search within themselves filled with questions for which there are no an

    "I have quietly stopped being me."

    Death seems to seep into our inner sensibilities and it leaves a stain for which there is no effacing. It takes up residence and has a pulse of its own. It rings its staccato rhythm in beat after beat of such painfilled loss.

    Brady Starling and his seventeen year old daughter, Eve, are caught up in the storm and aftermath of the suicide of Maddy, wife and mother. Broken by this reality, they search within themselves filled with questions for which there are no answers. Both carry the heavy burden of guilt. One word glares up at them day in and day out: Why?

    Maddy was a stay-at-home mom who was dedicated to her family and friends. She left nothing behind that would indicate the heaviness of her soul. However, Brady comes across Maddy's diary which reveals some inner workings that both Brady and Eve were unaware of.

    Abby Fabiaschi presents a debut novel that approaches death and loss in a real, in-your-face, honest, and revealing manner. She incorporates the character of Maddy as an elusive spirit that takes on a full-out role in the behind the scenes aftermath of her own death. The deep, raw characterizations have been developed masterfully with such human dialogue. "She wears guilt like a jacket on a cold day, clutching it."

    And please know that this is not meant to be "a downer" of a read. There is outright humor in the form of snarky talk between characters that will have you laughing out loud. Fabiaschi has an uncanny ability to make you nod your head with the familiarity of situations. You get it. You easily relate. And you realize that you will "pass through" this Valley of Death and not simply take root in it. Hope perches on every branch.

    I highly recommend this one. It is a brilliant depiction of loss and the knowledge that there is, indeed, light even in the greatest darkness. Bravo, Abby Fabiaschi!

    I received a copy of I Liked My Life through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to Abby Fabiaschi for the opportunity.

  • Zoeytron
    Jan 13, 2017

    Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

    Maddy, a 45 year old woman, takes her life by jumping from the roof of the library, leaving no suicide note. Husband, Brady, and teenage daughter, Eve, are left to sift through the whys and the wherefores. They will learn much about themselves as they struggle to cope. One doesn't always have the luxury of knowing why something happens.

    The grieving process is finely drawn here. The disbelief, the guilt, the anger. Brady is no good at reading

    Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

    Maddy, a 45 year old woman, takes her life by jumping from the roof of the library, leaving no suicide note. Husband, Brady, and teenage daughter, Eve, are left to sift through the whys and the wherefores. They will learn much about themselves as they struggle to cope. One doesn't always have the luxury of knowing why something happens.

    The grieving process is finely drawn here. The disbelief, the guilt, the anger. Brady is no good at reading the women in his life. As the neighborhood divorcees swarm, the new widower yearns to be left alone. Eve seems to be written so right, no one "gets" her these days and everything sucks. And all the while, Maddy is watching over them, loving them, doing what she can to ease the way. But she won't be around forever . . .

    As another reviewer noted, the multiple POV thing is starting to wear thin, but it really does work well here. The story told is not so heavy as to be maudlin.

  • Luffy
    Feb 02, 2017

    Maddy was an exceptional housewife who cared a lot for her husband Brady and her daughter Eve. However, suddenly she commits suicide, to the grief of her sundered family. Or, not so sundered.

    Her remaining family members can't begin to understand why she committed suicide.

    Suicide is a bane on life. But when granted artistic license, it can become touching. In Last Writes, a book that I loved to bits, the person to commit suicide says to the main character : "Don't be sad dear. This is the way I w

    Maddy was an exceptional housewife who cared a lot for her husband Brady and her daughter Eve. However, suddenly she commits suicide, to the grief of her sundered family. Or, not so sundered.

    Her remaining family members can't begin to understand why she committed suicide.

    Suicide is a bane on life. But when granted artistic license, it can become touching. In Last Writes, a book that I loved to bits, the person to commit suicide says to the main character : "Don't be sad dear. This is the way I want it." Here too, this is the sentiment that Maddy echoes.

    A lot of things happen in this book. But I want to say something about suicide. Every 30 seconds, someone commits suicide. It's no mean achievement that people reach their 30s, 40s (Maddy was 45 years old) etc. So think about the lottery of life that you won for a moment, and savor it.

  • Larry Hoffer
    Jan 26, 2017

    I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars on this one.

    There were times when I was a teenager and in my early 20s (back in the dark ages) that I suffered from depression, and I thought about what it would be like to attend my own funeral, to see who would attend and what people would say about me, whether they would be sorry or sad, or how they would react.

    In a strange way, I was reminded of those thoughts when I was reading Abby Fabiaschi's beautifully moving debut novel,

    .

    From the outside, i

    I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars on this one.

    There were times when I was a teenager and in my early 20s (back in the dark ages) that I suffered from depression, and I thought about what it would be like to attend my own funeral, to see who would attend and what people would say about me, whether they would be sorry or sad, or how they would react.

    In a strange way, I was reminded of those thoughts when I was reading Abby Fabiaschi's beautifully moving debut novel,

    .

    From the outside, it appeared Maddy had it all. She was a well-read, tremendously intelligent and generous housewife, with a successful husband, Brady, and a beautiful teenage daughter, Eve. Maddy was witty, sardonic, fun to be around, and fiercely devoted to her family, and determined that Eve grow up understanding the difference between right and wrong, and realize the impact of her actions when treating someone else cruelly. Sure, Brady's workaholic nature, his refusal to relax and spend time with her and Eve, and his taking her for granted more times than she'd care to count enraged and saddened her, but for the most part, she is satisfied with the way her life unfolds, which is why it is a tremendous shock to her family, friends, and the community when out of the blue, Maddy commits suicide one day.

    But although her life on Earth is over, Maddy isn't quite finished. She watches over Brady and Eve and tries to help them deal with their grief and, perhaps equally importantly, their relationship with each other. She's determined not to let Eve grow up with bitterness and anger, and she refuses to let Brady distance himself from their daughter, to fall into his usual patterns of anger, neglect, and periodic bouts of attention. From wherever she is, Maddy gently manipulates both of them to draw closer to one another; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but she sees how they are both reeling from her sudden death.

    The one thing Maddy wants to do is find her replacement, someone who will provide stability and love for both Brady and Eve. And she thinks she has found that in Rory, a teacher with a sparkling personality, an unexplained warmth, and a sarcastic edge, plus Rory is haunted by a tragedy of her own. Can Maddy help shape her family's future before she disappears for good?

    Meanwhile, Brady and Eve try desperately to understand what might have caused Maddy to take her own life, and how they might have been responsible. Each deals with grief and anger in their own way, and although they try to lean on each other, they struggle with that, because Maddy was the bridge between them. But as their relationship changes, they both begin to better understand who Maddy was, what made her tick, and how she really felt about her husband and her daughter. That may hurt, but it also the first step they must take if they will ever be able to move on.

    This is a tremendously thought-provoking and moving book, but despite the subject matter, it's not overly maudlin. Fabiaschi is a talented storyteller whose finesse belies the fact that this is her debut novel, because the book shifts and changes into something a little different than I expected, something even richer, while in a lesser author's hands this book could have turned into an all-out sob fest.

    The characters are much more complex than they first appear, although they're not always sympathetic, and you wonder at times just how much of a martyr Maddy was to put up with Brady and Eve's behavior. But as you see Maddy's side of the story, you begin to understand that, just like life, things aren't always what they appear, and you never really understand the relationship of two people by looking in from the outside.

    Sure, this story isn't perfect, and at times things happen a little too conveniently or seem a little too pat. But it was compelling from start to finish, and I really wanted to know and spend time with these characters, and understand their emotions. And I, too, wanted to understand what drove Maddy to her final moments. There are both the elements of the familiar and the unique in this book, and I liked it very much.

    NetGalley and St. Martin's Press provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

    See all of my reviews at

    .

  • Carol
    Jan 29, 2017

    After her suicide, Maddy decides she must find a better suited wife and mother for the husband and teenage daughter she left behind. With her witty ghostly voice and loving presence around them, Maddy instills thoughts into their minds to help guide them through this difficult time hoping to bring father and daughter closer together and realize the importance of family and forgiveness as they struggle to understand

    After her suicide, Maddy decides she must find a better suited wife and mother for the husband and teenage daughter she left behind. With her witty ghostly voice and loving presence around them, Maddy instills thoughts into their minds to help guide them through this difficult time hoping to bring father and daughter closer together and realize the importance of family and forgiveness as they struggle to understand

  • Deanna
    Feb 24, 2017

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    I more than just liked, "I Liked My Life", I LOVED it!!

    From the very first sentence I was hooked!

    Madeline (Maddy) tells us.....

    You see Maddy is not among the living anymore, but she's not exactly gone either. She is somewhere not here. Her life is just out of reach. At first she wonders if she's in purgatory.

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    I more than just liked, "I Liked My Life", I LOVED it!!

    From the very first sentence I was hooked!

    Madeline (Maddy) tells us.....

    You see Maddy is not among the living anymore, but she's not exactly gone either. She is somewhere not here. Her life is just out of reach. At first she wonders if she's in purgatory.

    She senses that this isn't her last stop. She feels like there is a world beyond where she is right now, but she doesn't see a path yet. There is just space and time....

    So for now she's going to make the best of it. And that's where finding someone perfect for her husband, Brady comes in. However, she's not just looking for someone to make her husband happy. She's looking for someone to help her teenage daughter, Eve too. She doesn't feel like she can move on or find peace until she fixes things for her family.

    Then Maddy spots Rory. Cool, calm, level-headed, lovely and she even likes to cook. Rory has the patience of a saint, from what Maddy can see. However, Rory has a lot going on in her life and has suffered through her own devastating loss. Maddy feels that Eve and Rory will be able to relate to each other. She's convinced that Rory is perfect for Brady and Eve and that they are perfect for her.

    Maddy was a devoted and loving wife and mother. So what could possibly have made her take her life?

    When we first meet Maddy's daughter, Eve, we can see right away how hard she is grieving. She's thinking about the fact that it's Mother's Day but that it's no longer a holiday for her. She's also thinking about how bad her father is at this parenting thing without her mom there to tell him what to do. Eve and Brady have been at each others throats lately and without Maddy there to smooth things over, things only seem to be getting worse.

    Eve spends a lot of time on her own. Her friends don't know how to deal with someone who is mourning the loss of a parent. They either ignore it or go completely overboard. Her friend, Kara is a drama queen who even made a spectacle of herself at Eve's mother's funeral, crying as if she lost her own mother. Eve also feels incredibly guilty about how she thinks she treated her mother. She feels horrible about every time she may have forgotten to say thank you or every time she interrupted her and so many other things she may have said or not said to her mother. She wonders if it's her fault.

    She doesn't know how she'll make it without her mother.

    Then there's Maddy's husband, Brady. Brady is lost in his own grief (and glasses of bourbon). He cannot believe Maddy is dead, that she jumped off a building. He had no idea that anything was wrong. Even the last text she sent him was benign, something about how to fit everyone for Easter dinner. Why would she ask about dinner and then kill herself? Psychologists try to tell him that suicide can often be impulsive, especially in cases like Maddy's, but Brady calls bull on all of that.

    But why did she do it? How could she leave them?

    Brady is so caught up in what he's going through that he's not aware of how much his daughter is suffering, and how much she needs him.

    Brady and Eve attempt to work their way through a grief so unimaginable. At times they are almost positive they can feel her presence. Brady thinks he hears her laugh and Eve even feels like her mother's comforting her at times. When Brady finds Maddy's journal, both him and Eve cling to it, hoping they will find the answers in her private thoughts.

    I really enjoyed this book. I thought how the story was told from multiple points of view worked very well. I LOVED how Maddy "communicated" with people from her perch/eye in the sky. Finding out how everything came to the point it did. The characters and relationships felt very genuine. Oh did this book ever make me emotional. A few times I had to stop reading just to go hug my daughter....or call my mother. But it wasn't all sad, there were many lighthearted moments. Both Eve and Maddy were quite witty, with some great one-liners. I grew very attached to these characters and their stories. There was a lot going on and although some parts were unexpected, I thought it all fit together very well.

    In my opinion, this was a fantastic novel. A story about love and loss, life and death, and above all healing and forgiveness. One of the best debut novels I've read.

    Please hurry and write more for me to read, Abby Fabiaschi. I can't wait!

    Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.