Marika Gillis's Reviews > The Living End

The Living End by Lisa Samson
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Jun 25, 09

bookshelves: fiction
Recommended to Marika by: Regina
Read in May, 2009

Devastated by her husband, Joey’s, unexpected stroke (and subsequent death) while lunching at Golden Corral, Pearly Laurel sinks into a severe depression. Immersed in her sadness, she decides to complete Joey’s to-do list of unfinished plans for his life. And, when completed, makes plans to finish her own life. In her quest to complete her husband’s list, Pearly (among other things) goes whale watching in Alaska, walks the Appalachian Trail, and takes guitar lessons, all while reflecting on her husband’s strong faith in God and her own refusal to acknowledge his strong faith and attend church with him. As she contemplates her life with Joey, Pearly discovers the key to fulfillment in her own life is building relationships we have with many people (not just the one person we allow our world to revolve around) and through these relationships, Pearly begins to find her own faith in God growing stronger. She discovers not just one reason to continue living, but a whole roomful of people to live for and a God who gives her life meaning.

This book was chosen for my book club by a dear friend who truly loved the novel. It had a terrific rating on goodreads so I dove in, fully expecting to be immersed by Pearly’s story, but I wasn’t. While I can appreciate it’s message, the book felt fragmented and removed, and more than a little preachy. I had a hard time identifying with Pearly, even sympathizing with her terrible loss. I didn’t understand her path to healing and was disappointed that Pearly was not a more sympathetic character. Many people may love this book, but it was not a favorite of mine.
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