Delia Bennet is the author of a series of successful modern household guides. She’s also dying from cancer. As she has her own experience to draw on, she sets out to write a final guide.. ‘The Household Guide to Dying’.
Whilst researching and writing this book, Delia comes to realise that there are issues in her past that she has to face, and deal with. One day she climbs into her car, and takes a journey that she hopes will help her do just that.
The story moves around in time, jumping between events. Early in the book, it is easy to lose track as to where you are in the story, so it’s certainly one to pay attention to, rather than dipping in and out.
For me, however, there came a point where I started to feel myself fully immersed in the way of writing, the evolving storylines, and the characters, and I had difficulty putting it down.
Delia writes about dying in a candid and straightforward way – she develops her own ways to deal with her feelings, and what is to come.. and in doing so, she also starts to deal with the past. I love that feeling when I know a book has me hooked, and this was it!
This is a very emotional book, touching on some heart-breaking events, but it avoids being overly sentimental. This may not be the way that you, as a reader, personally expects to face your own death, but it’s completely believable that it’s Delia’s way.
There are many aspects of the story that I don’t wish to spoil, as I believe that are best met in the way they unfold. It’s possibly not a book that everyone is going to get along with, but if you do, I suspect that you will gain a lot from it. My main advice is to not give up on it if you struggle at the beginning, as this is a book I would not have wanted to have missed.
Published by HarperCollins 05/01/09