Das Beste Am Leben: Roman
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Das Beste Am Leben: Roman

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3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  760 ratings  ·  167 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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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
crystalibrary
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...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
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
Kay Rollison
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
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
Chel Hartrick
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...more
Cynthia
Adelaide, who has a PhD in Women’s Writing is a beloved Australian author – she’s written numerous non-fiction books, an anthology and a couple novels, but this is her first international success. Kudos to you, Ms. Adelaide, for "The Guide" is absolutely brilliant work.

The story is almost – sort of – but done better than most – a book within a book. It is about Delia, a popular snarky advice columnist that has published several Household Guides in book format, is facing the ultimate challenge in...more
Annet Maurer
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
Cathy
Actually listened to this as an audio book in the car. A interesting approach to a difficult topic...I think best read by someone when healthy, but gives an insight into what a person who is dying would go through. Found the tears rolling down my face as I drove along....
Hilda Reilly
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
I can't believe I made it to the end...
Sarah
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
Jess
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...more
Leah
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
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
SallyHP
I was given an advance copy of .The Household Guide to Dyingby Debra Adelaide in order to participate in the Mother Talk review of it.


When I was reading the first couple of pages I thought "Oh no...it's another Martha Quest!" I only say that because of the chickens scratching in the dirt, and I thought in the beginning that Adelaide was going to be like Lessing, who was so wordy and gave so much detail that the joy of reading that is creating the setting and characters in your mind was squashed...more
Kiwiflora


When you spot an interesting looking book on the bargain tables at New Zealand's largest bargain retail store for the glorious sum of $5-00, in other words as much of a bargain as you can possibly get, you really must wonder why it is there. After all, books that find themselves on the bargain tables anywhere are generally there for one reason only. So, it was with some trepidation that I started reading this, and without doing any googling of it prior.

The subject matter also was the cause of s...more
Vicki
I really liked this book; I even read it twice which is what I do with books I like.

The story could be trite: dying woman examines her life. However, the voice of the woman is human and believable. Her story, three losses to come to terms with, is involving. It is told in bits and pieces and I kept wanting to read ahead to see what happened. However, I also enjoyed the gradual unfolding. The use of language is good and the emotions around the losses seemed real.

Our main character, Delia, is marr...more
Diana Lyn
What made me put off finishing the first few chapters were the chickens. But I built up the courage to at least give it a shot and I felt good nearing the end.

I didn't quite get what she had been sneaking all up for Mr. Lambert, be it the 'eternity' on the lawn or something else. The circus part was a bit off to me as with the chickens, but I overlooked it and saw that Debra Adelaide quite got it aligned in a messy sort. The ending was also, for lack of better judgment and choice of word -- quee...more
Judyw Winkleman
Oh, I am so excited. I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. The description makes me think I will really like this book.


The beginning of this book started a little slow. But once I began reading, I didn't want to stop. Delia is a wife and a mother, who is dying from Breast Cancer. She is an advice columnist, and has written some reference books referred to as The Household Guides. As she is deciding what needs to be done in her personal life before she dies, she realizes others might also lik

...more
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...more
Colleen
This book was an excellent portrayal of one woman's attempt to deal with her oncoming death by mapping it out for other women. As Delia wrestles with the realities of a terminal cancer diagnosis, she tries desperately to keep her family life as normal as possible. When she suddenly leaves her family to drive halfway across the country in search of her past, Delia finds more and less than she had hoped.

This poignant look at Delia's last months was unexpectedly funny in parts- I found myself laug...more
Penny
This is a story about Delia a woman who is dying. She has had a double mastectomy, all the trearment she can handle and now is the time that she must make herself ready for her death. She is a writer of household guides Laundry, gardening the Kitchen etc and she has a brainwave that she will write a guide to "Dying", to help others!
She takes us back to a time 22 years before all this happens, to another life she lived but which was also connected to todays life, (you will see when you read the...more
Ruth Barnes
This book was delightfully enriching and life-affirming!
Loved the emotions it took me through

"... I embraced everything my mother loathed.". Page 70

"Which was why I read so much. Easier to enter someone else's dilemmas or questions or nightmares than confront or solve my own". Page 83

"... I realized that what ate me up about having more than one child was that I hated each of them when they were attacking the other, because I loved each of them when they were being attacked. It was like being to...more
Robotbee
This book is utterly beautiful. It is not, as you might expect, wrenchingly tear-jerking for the entire length; rather, it is funny and insightful and sweet, kind of the way you hope your death is going to be.

The main character finds out that her cancer treatment is not working, and that she has so long to live, just long enough that she can feel good about checking some final things off her list, not so long that you lose sight of what is going on. Also, she is not in a great deal of pain, whi...more
Laura
Feb 06, 2012 Laura rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Amy and Delinda
Despite the shocking title and what I imagined would be confronting subject matter, I am finding this to be fairly cliche so far. Woman has life changing experience that causes her to return to her past and confront her emotional baggage... I mean, hasn't this been done to death? (Did you like my pun there?) Also, the jumping narrative, why does everything people write these days have to jump around in both context and time (luckily it is just the one narrator instead of the 75 some other books...more
ginger
i loved this book. its funny though, i can fully see why people don't like the story at all >
1. it deals with dying. (oh sht we gonna die?!)
2. the protagonist - who is dying - doesn't go out of her way to make you feel all fuzzy and warm inside. (which, in a way, is sort of refreshing. i dunno why you always have to be in love with the main character?)

anyway, that being said, i had a lot of time to read this last summer and this one stayed with me. its a book that made me genuinely chuckle...more
Katie
I really struggled to get through this book, and I found myself having to skim many parts in order to do so.

Although well-written, the great majority of the book is written from the narrator's viewpoint, with little dialogue between characters, and with very little depth. I finished the book feeling like I didn't know any of the many main characters, including the narrator herself. The sections where the narrator describes various domestic and household duties were probably the most detailed par...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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