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Das Beste Am Leben: Roman

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3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  1,037 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
A freshly insightful, hopeful, and dramatic novel full of heart and life-told from the perspective of a household advice columnist, wife, and mother who is determined to finish a lifetime's worth of tasks even though she doesn't have a lifetime left to live.
" T he Household Guide to Dying" is a moving, witty, and uplifting novel about Delia, who writes an acerbic and wild
...more
Hardcover, 414 pages
Published January 2009 by Blanvalet (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,021)
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Jackie
Don't let the title fool you, or at least read the whole title, which continues "a novel about life". Because that's certainly what it is. The main character, Delia, is an advice columnist for domestic stuff, as well as a writer of several books based on a modern and cheeky interpretation of the 1861 classic "Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management". She also happens to be a mother with a loving husband, two young daughters, and end-stage cancer. She figures that her final book should be, in ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘The first thing I did this morning was visit the chickens.’

Delia Bennet, wife and mother aged 39, is dying. Between now, and then, there is a lot Delia wants to accomplish. She has her lists of things to do, her loose ends to tie up, her planning for her husband and daughters once she is dead. Delia is also writing her final book: ‘The Household Guide to Dying’, the last in a Household Guide series which has included the Garden, Home Maintenance, Kitchen and Laundry. She will address themes suc
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crystalibrary
Jan 07, 2009 crystalibrary rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There needs to be a "stopped-reading" shelf on this website.

I thought this book would be quite a good read, but sadly, not. I could not warm to the main protagonist. I understand that she has a terminal illness, and that gives her dibbs on choosing the music in the car or deciding where her family goes on the weekend, but does anyone really care about the "proper" way to make a cup of tea, or the fact that her mother taught her proper etiquette and ways of the world? I would personally be inter
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Kay Rollison
Jun 03, 2011 Kay Rollison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delia Bennet is dying, though there doesn’t seem to be a word in the English language that quite covers her situation. After all, we are all dying from the day of our birth. She has cancer and only a few months to live, but although she tires easily and is forgetful, she isn’t sick; she can still function in her roles as wife and mother and writer. She has three aims: to prepare herself, her husband and her two young daughters for her imminent death, to see if she can tie up a loose thread from ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius  omnivorous reader
This was a very pleasant novel and quite an enjoyable read. It is pretty much completely seen from the point of view of the main character Delia Bennet, so one would have to enjoy her character to enjoy the book. The basic storyline is the last months of a woman who knows that she is dying of cancer, her coping mechanisms her family and so on. It might have dragged a little but the author cleverly wove together subplots from the past - initially as flashbacks but coming together with the main ti ...more
Jo Case
Debra Adelaide has toiled away on the mid-list of the Australian literary scene for decades, writing close to a dozen books (two novels among them) along the way. Her latest book, The Household Guide to Dying, marks her entry into the big time. With rights sold internationally for an estimated $A1 million (after a heated bidding war), this novel comes heavy with expectation. And, I’ll admit, I was intensely wary of all the hype. But, nearly 400 pages later, I’m a convert. This is an exceptional ...more
Cate Ellink
Mar 09, 2016 Cate Ellink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially this book made me laugh, it struck so many familiar notes. Then I had a bit of a lull where it annoyed and frustrated me. And then it made me cry. So I don't know how to rate or review it...but because it struck s many chords, it must have been good, very good.

Some quotes that I loved-
It took a stout feminist to withstand the onslaught of the shirt.

I could admit now that the perfect husband resembled a wife.

Only a dysfunctional household left pegs on the line.

...a child for whom arriva
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Jess
Sep 24, 2012 Jess rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
I did not enjoy this book. I tried to read it multiple times and found myself unable to make any head way with it until the past weekend when i sat myself down and forced myself to read it, as afterall it was the book chosen for book club and I had to read it.

From the very momment I saw what we would be reading, I had issues with this book. Let me start by saying I'm a very emotional person, and I cry alot when reading a book. So when presented with a book titled The Household Guide to Dying I
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Kirsten Krauth
Writing Mothers: Debra Adelaide

(This interview is from my blog, Wild Colonial Girl, at: https://wildcolonialgirl.wordpress.co...)

When I first read The Household Guide to Dying it felt as if the writer, Debra Adelaide, had somehow stepped inside my head for a while and borrowed my voice. Even though at the time I had no daughters, and I certainly wasn’t dying of cancer, the words felt like they were mine: effortless, flowing, perfectly formed, and delivered with precision timing (at certain key p
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Amanda Rosso
Jan 17, 2016 Amanda Rosso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this. Harrowing, confronting and wry in equal measures. A most beautiful perspective in the strong telling of a confronting end of living story. A wonderful 'how to' guide. Couldn't get into it at the start (lots of personal resistance methinks) but just goes to show you how it's worth continuing especially with difficult reads.
Chel
Aug 09, 2009 Chel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Banafsheh Serov
Author of 'how to do' books & domestic columnist Delia Bennett is dying of cancer. Before she dies, Delia wants to put her household together by compiling a guide book on it – her last one.

Before she can complete her list, Delia needs to go back to the small country town in the Queensland where she followed her boyfriend as a pregnant teenager and fled from 8 years later after a tragic accident.

This story partly blends facts and fiction. Adelaide's own son suffered from Leukemia while she wr
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Sonia
May 27, 2016 Sonia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I can understand why people would relate to this book but it never really engaged me.

The movement between her present and her past was annoying, as I felt it slowed the story down, I didn’t feel as if I needed to spend as much time unraveling her past, when the first few glimpses into it, told me what was coming – I found it irritating.

I also found many of the events unrealistic and wasn’t wrapped up in the story enough to overlook these points.
There were a few nice moments – the decoration of
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Ben
Apr 09, 2015 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-novels
Despite its rather sombre title The Household Guide to Dying is a novel that is full of life.

Delia Bennet is a successful writer of household guides, through which strangers are taught to life better lives, but when she is diagnosed with Cancer, her energy is concentrated on writing the book that will form her final opus.

Her marriage to Archie, and her life is happy, she has two young daughters Estelle and Daisy that she will not see grow up to be women, although she is already planning their we
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Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Delia Bennet is the author of a series of household guides to such domestic topics as laundry, gardening and cooking, as well as authoring an advice column. Now she is dying of cancer and so she decides to use her experience to write one final guide: The Household Guide to Dying. While writing and researching this book (Delia learns about autopsies or coffins for example), she is also preparing her own family for her demise and coming to terms with a tragedy that occurred in her own life, severa ...more
Nicki
Jul 10, 2016 Nicki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annet Maurer
Mar 16, 2014 Annet Maurer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a bit hard to get into but I'm glad I persevered. It had me crying numerous times and I ended up reading it all in one shot. It is the story of a woman (who's also an author) dying of cancer and her quest to sort a few aspects of her life out before the end. Lots of jumping back in time (without being really clear about that at first).
It was a surprise to find it was Australian, considering I didn't recognise the author - it just jumped out at me in the library by the title. Because I've
...more
Morninglight Mama
Oh my. I've been known to cry over a book once or twice or a million times. But this book went above and beyond. Beyond the potential horrifyingly depressing topic, the novel actually played out in an overall sense much less sentimental than I had expected, but I would be reading along just fine when I would be confronted with a passage so gut-wrenchingly sad or painful that I would audibly gasp. This is a touching, thoughtful, searingly honest and open portrayal of a woman confronting her death ...more
Belinda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
Jun 29, 2016 Lisa marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: dovegreyreader
I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to engage with this book, but I took it back to the library with 4 CDs unheard because I really didn’t want to spend my time listening to any more of it. I know that there are others who think highly of it, but I was bored witless by it. Instead of a pleasant distraction from daily commuting, I found myself driving to school barely listening at all, motivated only spasmodically to continue until I found out why there was a discrepancy in the number of children Delia ...more
Jenny
Interesting, confronting and sad. This novel demands your attention, it asks you to reflect and maybe even sneakingly cordons you to think about your own ending. What is life and what is death? It is blunt, yet amusing and surprising in many ways.
Sara Cole
Jul 10, 2014 Sara Cole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fictional novel and the main character is, less than 40-years-old, Delia. Delia is an author. She writes witty Household Guides, for the laundry, the garden and the kitchen. She is now dying of cancer and wants to use her new found expertise on the subject to write her final Household Guide. During her writing and research she realises she had loose ends in her life that need to be tended to, and the reader is taken on a journey back to her teenage years as a single mum. The novel jump ...more
Mary-Lou Stephens
Some beautiful moments and ideas. I did shed a few tears at the end.
Hilda Reilly
May 12, 2014 Hilda Reilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had my doubts when I started reading this. (I'd borrowed it from the library and picked it up more or less at random as I was in a hurry.) Written in the voice of a youngish woman who is in the last few months of her life, it promised to be a morbid read. Yet it was heartwarming and endearing, even wryly comical in parts, with the author managing to maintain just the right balance. I have to confess that I was dreading coming towards the end and more or less skimmed the last couple of chapters ...more
Marianne
Jul 12, 2013 Marianne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I made it to the end...
Amanda Stevens
Apr 30, 2014 Amanda Stevens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I laughed out loud and I sobbed. I sniggered at the disasters and empathised with the dispair.

This book may cause a good deal of reflection into one's own life. Be the impetus and or trigger for some introspection and perhaps the shuffling of priorities. Maybe it might even lead to the purchase and installation of some chickens.

The authors, sometimes rambling, narrative serves to normalise the inevitability of dying that we must all face. This last rite which is so often not spoken of, or which
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Sarah
Jun 12, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, book-club
The Household Guide to Dying was a touching, realistic story that conveyed the worries of a dying mother. Delia is a clever perfectionist who loves to be in control. However, she is no longer in control of her life expectancy.

Reading the story, we find out about her past and her present. The chapters alternate between the two times in her life, which, in the beginning, can be a bit confusing. But, after getting acquainted with the characters, it was very easy to follow.

She writes household gui
...more
Leah
Jan 20, 2013 Leah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars (really wish Goodreads did 1/2 stars!)

I wanted to like this. I really did. It sounded so promising. But alas.

I went in knowing this would be sentimental chick-lit, but even still there were so many flaws, so many times when I rolled my eyes, and so many times when I wished the book would just be over already that I can't give it a wholly good review. There were these little bright, truthful, and funny moments throughout that gave me hope, but they weren't enough to save the entire manu
...more
Marilyn
Two stars for the first half, almost didn't get to the last half which is 4 stars.

Delia, the writer of household guides, tells her editor her latest book is "a guide to dying not death… Death is a condition, but dying is an act. It’s a noun versus a verb… not just a matter of grammar. I can write about dying because I know about it, I’m doing it." She simultaneously deals with resolution of the long ago death of her first child, and her own process of dying of cancer. Delia's approach has been t
...more
JackieB
Dec 08, 2010 JackieB rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I didn't enjoy this. I had two major problems with it. The plot and the main character.The plot was very confusing because it jumped around in time. I can see why the author wrote it that way and I don't think a chronological storyline would have worked but I needed more indications to show what time the story had jumped to.The main character seemed to be a control freak writing out endless lists to tell her husband and daughters how to do things that a reasonably intelligent person could work o ...more
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Debra Adelaide has worked as a researcher, editor, and book reviewer, and has a PhD from the University of Sydney. She is presently a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, where she lives with her husband and three children.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debra_Ad...

More about Debra Adelaide...

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