Title: Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye by Shari A. Brady
Published: June 11th, 2012 by Createspace
Source: Provided to me for free for blog tour and honest review
Grade rate: A-
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.
I love this book! It’s filled with the pain of loss, but also with the light of re-discovery and first love.
Carmella (Mello) unexpectedly lost her sister and best friend Francesca to a drug/alcohol overdose. She feels guilty because she knew that Francesca needed help and she didn’t know how to help her. Deep down Carmella is a good person, loyal, artsy, and with a lot to give; the problem is that she is afraid: Afraid of disappointing her parents and ‘rocking the boat’; afraid of first love and heartache; afraid of trusting anyone. This leads to her making less than good choices, like lying and hiding.
Howie is a great character. He hasn’t had an easy life either, but he has learned to cope with it and make lemonade with all the lemons thrown his way. He is upbeat, positive, a great friend, considerate, romantic and much more. I simply adored him and the fact that he was (and is) able to rise above it all and know when he needs help and how to help others.
Carmella’s parents are infuriating. I know that for some people religion (and the support of the church community) is enough to overcome most problems/issues; but obviously this approach doesn’t work for everyone. Even though many people try to tell Carmella and her parents that she needed to talk to someone, they kept insisting that everything was dandy. Her parents were trying to keep her safe, but at the same time they kept comparing Mello to Francesca, taking away her freedom, and pushing their choices at her; in short, they were making her life miserable.
I liked Anna and Jeremy fine enough and I love Ms. Sparacini (I love baking too and she is a lady after my own heart :) The characters were well developed and easy to associate with.
The plot is somewhat similar to The Sky is Everywhere, which is one of my all-time favorite books. However, Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye is distinctive enough and I really enjoy the use of lists such as this one:
“What loves means
2. Being honest with yourself and the person you love.
3. Accepting someone for who they are.
4. Courage to reveal your true self to people.
5. Total truth.”
The writing is beautiful and able to convey such strong feelings, like despair, guilt, love, fear, and denial. I wish that the book was longer and I feel like there were some loose ends, I want to know what happens next!! Can we get another book? Or maybe Anna and Jeremy’s story? (*hint*)
About the cover: I don’t particularly like the cover and it doesn’t do any justice to this great book.
You can find it here: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
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 her awesome husband, two of the best kids ever, and their shelter dog, Betty Queen Elizabeth. This is her first novel and her last career.
Twitter https://twitter.com/sharibradyGood Reads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6426270.Shari_A_Brady
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Innovative Online Book Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Innovative Online Book Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*