AUTHOR Shari A. Brady
PUBLICATION June 11th 2012 by Createspace
READ February 03, 2013
SOURCE From CBB Book Promotions for review
Before my older sister Francesca died, I worked at the bakery and wrote songs, but now I write lists. Lists like ten reasons why it's my fault Francesca's dead, or five reasons why I should try and win Howie back, or one reason why I need to stop lying to everyone, including myself.
Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye is an extraordinary novel about one family's struggle to make sense of their world after losing a family member to addiction. Through sixteen-year-old Carmella's eyes, we witness the courage and strength it takes to overcome the consequences of grief, guilt and co-dependency. WIth conviction and determination, Carmella shows us what can happen when we're open to love, feel the pain of our loss, and find the courage to accept the truth of our lives.
Carmella is dealing with the sudden death of her sister Francesca. She’s feeling so much guilt because the day before Francesca died of an overdose in her bathroom she called Carmella and asked her to go to an AA meeting with her but Carmella refused because they hadn’t been getting along lately. I felt so bad for Carmella, throughout the story the guilt of having said no to her sister is just slowly eating away at her. She goes through a lot of different phases in her grief and I think Brady portrayed how a teenager in this situation copes really well. From not sleeping, to not eating and simply closing herself off to everyone I really felt how broken up she was about the loss of her sister. I didn’t always agree with the things Carmella did, she would often blow up on the people around her and I wanted to grab her and tell her to calm down and take a step back. But I understood why she was acting the way that she was. I think that’s a very important part of a story such as this, the only way for an author to get away with a character acting as bullheaded as this is to really develop her story and make us understand her.
Carmella is not only dealing with the loss of her sister, but she is also dealing with living in the shadow her Francesca’s mistakes in the eyes of her parents. Ugh her parents, I was so frustrated with them throughout this story, and while a lot of their actions seemed a bit over the top, I could understand why they were being the way that they were. It was hard to see them project all of Francesca’s mistakes onto Carmella and take away their trust in her because of the life that her big sister led. The grief of the loss not only had them worried about Carmella but they were also at odds with each other. The loss of a child is never easy and we get to see how it eats away at a home slowly.
There is some light in the darkness of this story. Carmella meets the awesome Howie who had the perfect over-the-top personality to pull down the walls that she had put up. I wasn’t sure about Howie in the beginning, when they first started hanging out I found his personality pretty grating but once he started opening up more you realize that he’s just dealing with his own demons. I think the two of them really balanced each other out which made Carmella loosening up around him much more believable. One relationship that didn’t really hit the mark was Carmella and Anna’s friendship. I can’t place my finger on why, but I didn’t feel that they were as close as they were supposed to be. Maybe because at no point did I particularly come to like Anna so when they were fighting I didn’t really care, and I didn’t feel Carmella’s longing to talk to her again.
While I did take some issue with the relationships in Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye it was definitely an enjoyable and touching read. It wasn’t as profound as I had anticipated but it managed to hit the mark in many areas and create a beautifully bleak atmosphere. Is it strange that I think bleak can be beautiful? Hm. Probably.
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Shari A. Brady is a native Chicagoan and previously had so many careers she’s lost count. A graduate of Loyola University’s Business School and University of Chicago’s Creative Writing program, she’s finally a full-time writer, a dream she’s carried with her since she was twelve. She lives in suburban Chicago with two of the best kids ever and their shelter dog, Betty Queen Elizabeth. This is her first novel and her last career.
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