“If you live your life for other people, can you truly be happy? And what becomes of those you served once you’re gone.” I LIKED MY LIFE
Abby Fabiaschi’s debut novel, I LIKED MY LIFE (St. Martins) is about a devoted mother who commits suicide, leaving her husband and teenage daughter shattered and trying to recreate a sense of family, while she meddles in their lives from beyond the grave.
Maddy didn’t show any signs of suicidal behavior before falling off the roof of the Wellesley College library. She and husband, Brady were raised in modest households and their lives revolved around making sure their teenage daughter, Eve had everything they lacked in their childhoods. The Starling family lived a comfortable lifestyle, but Maddy’s death sends Brady and Eve’s lives into a tailspin. Hardworking Brady thinks back over their life, remembering they had fights just like every other couple while daughter, Eve, deals with raging hormones without a mother to talk to, and tries to adjust to the pitying looks from friends and neighbors. Brady and Eve slowly lose any connection to one another; they’re living in the same house – apart.
Maddy narrates from the grave, letting readers know “she liked her life” but finds herself frustrated that her family has sunk into deep sadness. Brady is clearly at a loss to what caused Maddy to take such a drastic step, but he feels her presence. It takes a bit of suspended reality to accept Maddy, a ghost from the grave wanting to make her family happy and trying to find a wife and mother for Brady and Eve.
Author Fabiaschi’s prose and her characters’ reactions inspire empathy, which keep the story from turning completely depressing. I LIKED MY LIFE’s theme is tragedy often has no reason, and those experiencing it must contend with the lack of reasons, as well as the loss. I appreciated the unique premise of the novel, but often found myself wondering why I should care at all what Maddy was thinking or what her motives were. The surprising twist at the end answered any and all questions. Even though I felt frustrated at times while reading I LIKED MY LIFE, I’m so grateful I stayed with it.
“If you live your life for other people, can you truly be happy? And what becomes of those you served once you’re gone.”
I LIKED MY LIFE certainly was original and I anxiously await Abby Fabiaschi’s next novel.
After graduating from The Taft School in 1998 and Babson College in 2002, Abby climbed the corporate ladder in high technology. When her children turned three and four in what felt like one season, she resigned to pursue writing. She soon signed a two-book, hardcover deal with St. Martin’s Press.
Abby is a human rights advocate interested in economic solutions to social/cultural problems. She is Director of the Board for Made By Survivors, an international nonprofit organization with a unique prosperity model that uplifts victims from sex trafficking and extreme abuse. You can learn more about her practice of systematic giving here.
She and her family divide their time between Connecticut and Park City, Utah.
You can contact Abby at her website www.abbyfabiaschi.com or on Twitter @AbbyFabiaschi