The name stuck out to me and I requested it from the library and then on a whim picked it up one night before bed.
I Liked My Life is not exactly a book where I feel like I can’t stop raving about it – more like I can’t stop THINKING about it.
I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi
The book begins just after Maddy’s death – she’s jumped from the roof of the library where she regularly volunteered.
She leaves behind her husband, Brady, and their seventeen-year-old daughter Eve, and both of them are floored by Maddy’s suicide.
They had no idea she was unhappy, both of them blithely living their own fairly self-absorbed lives, and letting Maddy keep the house running smoothly with dinner on the table each night, family vacations, and lots of volunteering.
The story is told from all three of their perspectives. Brady wrestles with what went wrong, coming to terms with his selfishness and absorption in work, and also has to face the fact that he was a fairly absentee father, letting Maddy do most of the heavy lifting of parenting, but now is the only parent Eve has left.
Eve, for her part, can’t stomach the pity and awkwardness from her friends or their parents, and can’t get herself to care a bit about the things she used to be consumed by – her boyfriend, a prom dress, a weekend party.
And Maddy watches the aftermath of her death play out from above, sending quiet messages to both her husband and daughter, trying to help them find their way to each other. And she’s also anxious to find the perfect replacement for her spot in her family and quickly spots Rory, who seems just right. Is it possible for her to steer Rory toward her family?
This book wasn’t super fast-paced, but after a few chapters, I couldn’t put it down. It was really well-done and I liked and cared about all the characters.
I loved the peeks into Maddy’s journal that her family reads trying to figure out what went wrong and it was such an interesting look at family and marriage and parent dynamics. I liked every one of the main characters, even when their flaws were glaringly obvious.
And of course, hanging over the whole book is the real question – why did Maddy jump? It didn’t feel like a traditional mystery with clues or a wild buildup toward the end, but more like unraveling a tangled piece of yarn, trying to figure out what is catching on what and hoping you can unwork the whole thing instead of having to cut it or throw it away.
In a small way, it reminded me of What Alice Forgot (one of my favorite books), where no one has all the answers and they’re all trying to piece together the puzzle at the same time you are.
Have you read I Liked My Life? I’d love to hear what you thought about it!