“I Liked My Life” by Abby Fabiaschi
272 pages, St. Martin’s Press
Expected publication date: Jan. 31, 2017
“… imagine the damage from believing you’ve caused something so horrible from such a young age; imagine the burden of thinking you ruined your mother’s life … So now my mom carried the same guilt I now carry. Playing it out, I can see how her mind turned on her, how reflecting pulled her into weeds that weren’t really there. I need to break the cycle. The end depends upon the beginning … ”
Madeline seems to have everything … a loving husband, Brady, who works hard to provide a good life for her and their teen daughter, Eve. She’s witty, insightful, and fiercely loyal to her family. She’s thoughtful, perceptive and loves hosting parties.
And then she’s gone, apparently having taken her own life with no warning, not even a suicide note.
But her spirit lingers as she watches Brady and Eve struggle to pick up the pieces of their life without her, accosted everywhere they go by rude comments and questions and hollow expressions of pity from a community who’s just as baffled as to why Maddy would have killed herself.
Working to “communicate” with Eve and Brady, with her sister Meg, with her friend Paige, and with Eve’s lovely calculus tutor Rory, Maddy just can’t rest peacefully until her loved ones understand why she left them.
I devoured this book. It is absolutely beautiful … the writing, the character developments, the way each chapter weaves together the perspectives of Maddy, Eve and Brady through a journey of loss and discovery. With Maddy gone, Eve and Brady find themselves unsure how to carry on as a family. Their interactions are heartbreaking, humorous and so true to life.
As I read “I Liked My Life,” I kept thinking, “Is this really a debut? This author has got to be a seasoned storyteller.” A myriad of emotions and human experiences come to life so exquisitely that it is hard to believe this is Abby Fabiaschi’s first rodeo.
There were moments in this book that felt just enough like a Hallmark movie to make me smile and tear up a little bit, but there’s enough irreverent humor and heavy drama woven in to make the story feel relatable and uncontrived. I love the way Eve and Brady interact. In their grief over losing Maddy, they realize just how much she held the family together and how little they really know about one another.
I know it’s early in the year, but “I Liked My Life” is a strong contender in my list of top reads of 2017. I can’t wait to see what else Fabiaschi has up her sleeve.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the author
After graduating from The Taft School in 1998 and Babson College in 2002, Abby climbed
the corporate ladder in high technology. When her children turned three and four in what felt like one season, she resigned to pursue writing. In March, Abby signed a two-book, hardcover deal with St. Martin’s Press. Her debut upmarket women’s fiction novel, I Liked My Life, will be released January 31, 2017.
Abby is a human rights advocate interested in economic solutions to social/cultural problems. She is Director of the Board for Made By Survivors, an international nonprofit organization with a unique prosperity model that uplifts victims from sex trafficking and extreme abuse. You can learn more about her practice of systematic giving here.
She and her family divide their time between West Hartford, Connecticut and Park City, Utah. When not writing or watching the comedy show that is her children, she enjoys reading across genres, skiing, hiking, and yoga. Oh, and travel. Who doesn’t love vacation?