Published by Ballantine Books
Publication date: July 10th 2012
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction
One of the reasons reading is such a marvelous thing is because it can be tailored to suit every mood. When I’m reading a book to be reviewed I need to pay attention, a bit like studying in college but if you only ever had to study your favorite subject. Sometimes, I want to read the way I watch bad TV- blindly with no greater goal than to be amused. No thought involved.
Gigi Lavangie Grazer is the former wife of uber-Hollywood producer Brian Grazer. This has no real meaning in the context of her writing but it does make her an expert on all things L.A.and she wields that knowledge with a rapier sharp wit. Her latest book, The After Wife, is about poor Hannah Bernal, whose husband is killed by a hit-and-run driver. After his death she discovers that he had not kept up the premiums on his life insurance and her newfound talent for talking to the dead puts a swift end to her job as a producer for a reality television show. Add to that, her three-year-old daughter being kicked out of her pre-school for claiming her daddy visits her at night and being behind on the property taxes for the house she loves and Hannah is about as stressed as a heroine can get. Thankfully, she has the Grief Team, composed of her best friends Jay (her deliciously gay business partner), Chloe (a new age, vegan, dog rescuing, mommy blogger), and Aimee (a bordering-on-bitter, wannabe actress). With this group in place, Grazer makes Hannah’s life both hilarious and heartbreaking.
“I am trying to remember to do two things: eat and sleep. Per Chloe’s advice (also posted on her blog an NoMoMama.com), I’d started leaving Post-It Notes for things I’ve forgotten. Like where my daughter is. Or did I eat breakfast? Widowhood was sort of like Alzheimer’s, without the funny. My brain is on over-drive, tracking every memory of John and pinning it down, saving it to be filed, alphabetically and chronologically.”
The After Wife is chick lit, summer/beach read, whatever-frothy-label-you-want-to-use reading at its best. It is impossible not to laugh while reading this book. The wit is sly and constant, full of Hollywood insider references that make the reader both cringe at their shallowness and wish they knew these people. At the same time, Grazer uses this humor to deal with issues of grief and loss in a very real way. The After Wife is the perfect book when you just want to relax and read.