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The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,466 ratings  ·  515 reviews
Three generations. Seven days. One big secret. The author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake unfolds a mother-daughter story told by three women whose time to reckon with a life-altering secret is running out.

Gina Zoberski wants to make it through one day without her fastidious mother, Lorraine, cataloguing all her faults, and her sullen teenage daughter, May, snubbing her
Paperback, 338 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 positively optimistic and heartwarming stars to The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go is a special, endearing book. I finished this on Mother’s Day, and I think it would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift because it’s all about mothers and daughters.

Gina’s mother, Lorraine, is harsh and at any given time can offer a laundry list of Gina’s faults. She also has a teenage daughter, May, who is sullen and struggling with her father’s (Gina’s husband’s)
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*3.5 stars rounded up.

Regina is a young widow caught between her feisty, rebellious teenage daughter and her aging hyper-critical mother but she keeps her sanity by making lists. When her mother suffers a debilitating stroke, Gina and her sister need to go through her papers and are shocked to learn their mother has been keeping a huge secret. What impact will the truth have on their own lives at this point?

Amy Reichert deftly handles the family dynamics between mothers, daughters and sisters.
Book Concierge
This is an intergenerational story following Lorraine, her two daughters, Vicky and Gina, and Gina’s teen daughter May. Their relationships are fraught and characterized by discord and silence. But when Lorraine suffers a stroke, things begin to change.

I really liked this book and the way Reichert wrote these women. Gina is a young widow who uses her chef talents to run a gourmet grilled-cheese food truck. She’s hard working and afraid she’s repeating her mother’s mistakes with her own daughter,
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Three and a half stars: An emotional and touching book about family, grief and new beginnings.

Gina clings to her to do lists. The lists are the way she manages to get through each day since the crushing death of her husband two years ago. Gina’s days involve plenty of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that she serves up in her food truck. However, the bills are piling up, her teenage daughter, May, refuses to speak to her, and her mother is impossible as usual. Then disaster strikes when Gina’s
Jamie Rosenblit
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
I have now officially read 75% off all of Amy E. Reichert books now (I'm looking at you, Luck, Love & Lemon Pie!)...and I have loved and enjoyed them all, but this one really takes the cake as the most special one I've read yet.

I am always drawn to "food fiction" since I first read Delicious! by Ruth Reichl, which is how I first came to find Reichert's The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. However, in Optimist, we also get an important multi-generational story of women and family that settled into m
Sherri Thacker
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love reading ALL books by Amy E. Reichert so I was so happy when I saw this one come out in print!! I’ve been waiting Amy!!! All of her books are just a joy to read and it’s great to take a break from the psychological thrillers I’ve been reading. Lots of love, heart ache, loss and friendship between 3 generations of women. This was a fast read to me and I didn’t want it to end. Now I want a grilled cheese sandwich! (and a delicious brownie)
Cassidy (Cassidys.Bookshelf)
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
This was my first novel by Amy E. Reichert and it won't be my last. This story had everything I love in a book: strong emotional connections to the characters, a past and present storyline, delicious food descriptions and an ending that left me satisfied with the story. I dare you to read this book and not crave grilled cheese and brownies. I made it past the first 100 pages before I broke out the panini maker for dinner. 😂 I still need to come up with a brownie recipe that would make May proud. ...more
mindful.librarian ☀️
Thanks to the publisher for this review copy!

Oh, how I adore Amy E. Reichert's books - ADORE. I am a born and bred Wisconsin resident and can't get enough of her domestic (and foodie!) fiction set on the eastern side of my home state. While each story is completely different, they all have her signature style and sense of home that I have come to depend on in her novels. This newest title is one of my favorites of hers - mothers and daughters and a town I know well and a little historical family
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zowza!!! (I saw this word in a book I read this week, sorry I can't remember which to give credit to, but I love it!!

I loved this book!!!

It was filled with so many great characters. There were so many times that I just wanted to haul off and slap a couple of them. They grated my nerves so much, especially Lorraine. That was, of course, before I started shedding tears for those very same people.

The story was amazing, the writing was amazing and I'm still crying over it. Even after I took a break
Colleen Oakley
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge Amy Reichert fan and I think this is her best yet! Emotional, relatable, and chocked with her now-signature side of delicious food descriptions. Put this on the top of your TBR!
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE a well-done family saga and Reichert's newest novel does not disappoint! I read this book—a story about mothers and their complicated relationships with their daughters and the family secrets that affect them all—the same month I welcomed my own daughter into the world, which made it more special. While it may have been the hormones, I'm going to attribute it more to Amy's wonderful writing that I found myself tearing up multiple times, but especially at its bittersweet ending.

Cannot wai
Karen R
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I so enjoyed reading Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and was thrilled to see that Amy had written a new book. Couldn't wait to get my hands on it! Well, it pulled me in from the start. I am impressed at the author's skill in capturing family dynamics in a heartfelt way. I loved that food again shares the spotlight which was one of my favorite things about Coconut Cake - this time gourmet grilled cheese is on my plate - yum! A very enjoyable story and a vibrant cast of characters.
Three generations of women in one family have struggled to connect. Until now. An older woman's stroke brings out a long-held secret and is the catalyst for healing to begin with her daughters and her granddaughter. It was heartwarming, bittersweet, and a family story that left me wanting to call my own mom and hug her.

Gina is a widowed woman of two years running her fantastic Grilled G's food cart business (seriously, her versions of grilled cheese kept me salivating) and figure out how to get
Abida's Book Adventures
Review to come!!!


This was a fun book to read. There wasn't too much drama or pointless scenes. The book is written in three perspectives Gina, Gina's daughter May, and Gina's mother Lorraine. Gina is a widow who is trying to live each day "normal" as possible. Things don't work out in Gina's favor by having a judgmental mother and attention seeking daughter.

One of the best thing about this book is the diversity in it. Most times when the main character is White, they are often times Ita
Melissa Marino
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fans of Amy Reichert will not be disappointed with this book! Three generations of women, all with their own stories of trials and tribulations, but it's the love that binds them when a decades old secret is uncovered. Gina is relatable, and shows her strength as a woman when tragedy strikes her family. Plus, all the grilled cheese creations she makes will have you wanting to make your own! Her mother, Lorraine, is that elderly woman we all know, sassy and stubborn, but throughout the book we le ...more
Pam Jenoff
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful intergenerational tale of Gina, widowed owner of a grilled cheese food truck (Grilled G's, I can't even...!) while feeling caught between her nitpicking mother and sullen teenage daughter. When her mother suffers a stroke, Gina discovers a long-buried family secret and realizes that finding the truth might be the only way home. Every woman who is part of the sandwich generation (pun intended) will find herself in this hilarious and heartwarming book.
After losing her husband (Drew) two years ago, woman (Gina) grieves while also caring for her sick mother (Lorraine). Occurring in just one week, this story tackled grief, a secret revealed, and the very complicated relationship between a mother, her daughter, and her granddaughter.

Gina, grieving the loss of her amazing husband, Drew, is now a single parent to their daughter, May. At 14 years old, May was a typical, sulky, self-centered teenager, missing her dad fiercely, yet pushing her mom aw
Chris Conley
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amy Reichert is a terrific author. Her stories examine issues that affect all of us. Grief is one of those feelings that we all will experience and yet no one experiences it or expresses it the same way. And, somehow, we give permission to others to tell us how to do it. Gina has a lot of troubles come her way. The way she copes is her way. This book is powerful and lovely.
Donna Hines
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
Optimism even in the face of heartbreak and grief is much needed in order to move forward and achieve true happiness.
There is no greater bond than that between a parent and a child but what if who you thought was your biological parent is NOT or what if the parent you had was not very attentive as a child, what if the parent is of a different sexual orientation? Ok, pass me the cheese burger and let's talk.
Gina is a widow with a teen daughter May (God love her) and a nagging mother Lorraine. Lo
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought about abandoning this book at about the 20% mark. It was not what I expected which was contemporary fiction. The scenes with the teenage daughter made me stop and look on line to see if this was a young adult romance. Pretty cheesy. In addition to that frustration, I listened on Audible and did not like the way the narrator performed the male voices. Then there was an interesting nugget thrown in that caught my attention so I stuck with the book. The story had some value but I wouldn't ...more
I’d sincerely enjoyed two of Reichert’s earlier novels, and anticipated that I’d appreciate her knack for mixing a delicious foodie repertoire amidst human foibles again. My optimism was a tad too great for this recipe, with a few too many ingredients- many, many backstories peppered about many, many characters, all carrying significant angst- and much less of the deft touch and lightness of her previously food inspired stories.

The subjects were more serious. Widowhood x2, alienation of adult c
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Multi-generational family stories are my favorites. When 3 generations of women get together there is usually fun, guilt and surprises. Gina's husband has died and her teen daughter May isn't handling it well. Gina is keeping their household afloat by running her food truck, the Grilled G's that her husband built. From the story you can tell Gina and her sister didn't have a happy childhood and visits to her mother are a chore, not a happy time. When Gina discovers her mother on the floor suffer ...more
4.5 stars rounded

There’s something so comfortable about a Reichert novel – like those fuzzy warm socks, and stretched out just the way you like it sweater, that simply engulfs you and demands you settle in and enjoy the ride. This novel is no different, even if the characters in this have more issues and struggles to work through than any of her previous stories. Told from the main character Gina’s point of view, with bits from her mother Lorraine and her fourteen year old daughter May, this is
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's always a special experience to read a story set in a familiar location. The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go takes place in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa and features mentions of well-known spots, including Kopp's and Polish Fest. It also smiled at the brief mention of cider from Door County--a slight nod to another story from Amy E. Reichert.

The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go did not immediately sweep me away. Rather, I found the story to be quietly insistent, wrapping me up with each detail and l
Kim Bruce Daniel
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love Amy Reichert's books!!! This one didn't disappoint. Such a heartwarming story of a family and family secrets. And of course the food!!! Never wanted a grilled cheese sandwich so much in my life while reading about Regina's family and her food truck. A definite must read.
Jessica Strawser
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When you find yourself craving the reading equivalent of comfort food, this is it: A multigenerational story of mothers and daughters, sisters, first love, and coming of age—all on the menu of a delicious gourmet grilled cheese food truck.
Jane Stewart
My problem is the subject matter - GRIEF.

Most of the book has way too much time with three females grieving deaths of husbands/fathers/first-loves. Most of the story is flashback memories of nice times together before the person died: how they met, their relationship, how they died. Even at the end of the book there are more tear jerking grief scenes. This book is sooo different from the author’s first book “The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.” I loved that book. It was a contemporary romance story
Leigh Kramer
I really enjoyed The Simplicity Of Cider so I was hoping for another delightful read in The Optimist's Guide To Letting Go. Unfortunately, I had a really hard time getting into it and the story never really picked up.

The characters were messes in their own way, which could have led to some great redemption arcs but I never felt connected to them. Part of this may be due to the reliance on flashbacks. I wanted present day action, not lingering in the past. I didn't need to comb their memories to
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go was not what I was expecting. After reading Reichert's other novels, I was expecting a romantic comedy with quirky characters and a lot of depth. Instead, Reichert delivers an emotional, heart-wrenching story about five women, told from the perspectives of three, Gina, Lorraine, and May. Gina lost her beloved husband, Drew, two years ago. Lorraine is Gina (and Vicky's) distant mother, who has never approved of Gina's choices. May is Gina's daughter, an emotiona ...more
This was the best mother/daughter story I've read in a long time! I love food trucks and food festivals, grilled cheese, and making lists - and so I really loved this story. I identified with Gina and May - we lost our dad to cancer in November. Even though he had about double the time that Joe did, it was still not enough, never.

I loved how the mother/daughter dynamic was explored via Gina and May, and how a great sister/sister relationship was portrayed with Gina and Vicky. In this you even s
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Play Book Tag: The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go / Amy E Reichert - 4**** 1 8 Jun 12, 2019 08:19PM  

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Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for- ...more

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