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Review: We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

Title: We All Want Impossible Things

Author: Catherine Newman
Year published: 2022
Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 224 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (NY and MA)

SummaryEdith and Ashley have been best friends for over forty-two years. They’ve shared the mundane and the momentous together: trick or treating and binge drinking; Gilligan’s Island reruns and REM concerts; hickeys and heartbreak; surprise Scottish wakes; marriages, infertility, and children. As Ash says, “Edi’s memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.” 

But now the unthinkable has happened. Edi is dying of ovarian cancer and spending her last days at a hospice near Ash, who stumbles into heartbreak surrounded by her daughters, ex(ish) husband, dear friends, a poorly chosen lover (or two), and a rotating cast of beautifully, fleetingly human hospice characters.

As The Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack blasts all day long from the room next door, Edi and Ash reminisce, hold on, and try to let go. Meanwhile, Ash struggles with being an imperfect friend, wife, and parent—with life, in other words, distilled to its heartbreaking, joyful, and comedic essence.

For anyone who’s ever lost a friend or had one. Get ready to laugh through your tears.

Review: I wanted to read something short before I began my next TLC book review book tomorrow and this one just seemed to jump off the shelf. I ended up reading it in a couple sittings on Mother's Day and what a whammy of a book it is.

For once, I feel like the description/summary for this book is spot on. While I was reading this book I smiled, laughed, and cried. Yes, it's about sitting with a friend who is dying, but life is never all one emotion; even when we are in the depths of despair, we are allowed to have glimmers of happiness, of fond memories, and to enjoy a moment before we return to sadness in front of us. I think we honor those who are dying by remembering the good that they brought into our lives. This book does this so very well.

And the title. So perfect. Ash wants Edi to live, to be healthy (impossible); for Edi's child to grow up with his mom (impossible); for her own daughters to always be safe (impossible); and more. It's like that in our own lives. We want to be with the one we love (not always possible), to have our children "succeed" without heartache (usually not possible), and we want, we want, we want. But we don't get it all without the tough times, too.

This book is not a downer. It is a beautiful testament to friendship, family, saying the things that matter, helping loved ones to let go when it's time, and appreciating what we've got when we have it and living life to the fullest.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Popsugar--About divorce

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