June 20, 2008

The Household Guide to Dying - Debra Adelaide

You may have been noticing that a lot of my reading material (fiction and non-fiction) tends to focus on the areas of death and dying. It is a subject area that I am greatly interested in - both professionally and personally. The Household Guide to Dying By Debra Adelaide was a book I had heard about heading into the Sydney Writer's Festival in May this year and I was fortunate enough to hear the author speak at this event (and get my book signed - a new passion of mine!).

The Household Guide To Dying is the story of Delia Bennet, a 40-something year old woman who is dying, quite quickly, of cancer. Delia is a writer of "household guides"and tips columns and her idea is to write the ultimate guide to the dying process as her last offering to the publishing world. Through the story we hear of Delia's relationships with her two young daughters, Estelle and Daisy, her husband Archie, mother Jean and an intruding neighbour, Mr Lambert. There is also a significant sub-plot to this novel which involves Delia making a trip back to a town she lived in in her younger days to locate something precious to her.

This book was divine - beautifully narrated by Delia who I just adore. A wonderful mixture of sharp, quickwitted, intelligent, reflection - everything I would love to be! The scenes involving quips between Delia and Archie and their girls ring so true. The parts where Delia prepares boxes full of keepsakes and memories for her girls to find after her death - heartbreaking and warming all at the same time.


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