How To Say Goodbye by Katy Collins is a beautiful contemporary novel about death and learning to live again. It is a novel that will make you cry and it will make you smile. It will certainly tug at your heartstrings.
There are a wonderful mix of unique characters united by their loss. Death affects us all. We never really ‘get over it’ but we have to learn to live with a new ‘normal’. The characters can bloom again. They (and the reader too) learn the importance of talking about your feelings in a safe place where people care for you. “I want to know… when I’m going to start feeling happy again.”
I loved the main character. We get to know her intimately as the book is written in the first person and from her point of view. I also loved Ms Norris with her eccentricities and her huge heart. Her interactions with others were priceless.
“We only get one shot at a goodbye.” It is important to get it right. No one wants to be left with regrets. Funeral arranger Grace goes above and beyond to provide the perfect, unique funeral every time.
Loss produces a range of emotions – sadness, anger, denial – all are perfectly normal. There are “little empty spaces left behind. Spaces that only she could fill.”
The novel shows there are individual losses and collective losses where many people come together united by grief for a public figure. “I felt exactly the same when Princess Diana passed… No one could understand how she made me feel.” I can echo those words of the character as I too, remember a feeling of loss when Princess Diana was killed.
It is important to face our loss. We can never move forwards if we do not come to terms with our pasts. “You carry the past around with you, especially when love is involved.” We need to know that it is okay to smile again.
I found How To Say Goodbye a truly beautiful read. You may be thinking that it is a gloomy read but that is not the case. It is funny, touching, poignant and at times, sad. It is a book that celebrates friendship and love. There is an air of care that pervades the whole novel. I was left feeling very serene. Katy Collins is clearly a talented author who has soothed my heart and soul with her beautiful novel. I cannot wait to read more by her.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.