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Fred's Funeral

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s 1986, seventy years after he marched off to WWI, and the ghost of Fred Sadler hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home. To Fred’s dismay, the arrangement of his funeral falls to his prudish sister-in-law, Viola. As she dominates the remembrance of Fred, he agonizes over his inability to set the record straight.

Was old Uncle Fre
Published December 2nd 2017 by Sandy Day
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Judith Barrow
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think the book description, with all the open questions, reveals all that is needed to say about the story to draw any reader in.

I loved this novella. Although inspired by letters written by the author’s Great Uncle Fred, and written from a third person point of view, it’s Sandy Day’s light touch in her writing style that brings out the poignancy of what is essentially a ghost story.

I actually found it strangely frustrating that Fred Sadler is unable to make his relatives understand that is w
The book’s imaginative premise sees Fred Sadler become an unseen, ghostly presence at his own funeral and a witness, alongside the reader, to the gradual revealing of the unvarnished story of his life. Based on the true story of the author’s great uncle, it is a tale of ignorance at the time about the mental trauma suffered by soldiers as a result of their experiences. The attitude of Fred’s family and the treatment he undergoes at the hands of the medical profession are shocking by today’s stan ...more
Olga Miret
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a short book, but it punches well above its weight. The book, written mostly from the point of view of Fred Sadler, a Canadian veteran of WWI who never quite recovered from the war and spent years in and out of mental institutions (such as they were at the time), takes its readers on a journey through Fred’s memories (he has just died, so I guess I should say his ghost’s memories, but, in many ways, Fred had been a ghost of his former self for many years already) and those of the relativ ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it

Fred’s Funeral is a sweet novella that describes a family get together after Fred’s funeral. It is probably a familiar situation, that of different generations of the same family realising too late that they didn’t know enough about an elderly relative in their family.
Fred had served in WW1, and returned home struggling with shell-shock and having to cope with everything that he saw. Like many he found it difficult to talk about it and after a series of incidents, that were mainly alcohol rela ...more
Judy Stambaugh
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book a lot

I this book, a man dies & his family gathers for his funeral. Fred, the deceased is hovering in the room, watching. He follows the family home and listens in on their stories about him. With each story, he recalls what happened. His family thought he had shell shock from the war and his father repeatedly had him admitted to an insane asylum. It's written very well.
Karen Cole
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Fred Sadler dies in York Manor Home for the Aged, his passage to the next life is interrupted when he becomes startled by his sister-in-law, Viola and nephew, John as they examine his few possessions. He becomes somehow tethered to them and watches aghast as Viola arranges his funeral and then afterwards as the extended family gather to reminisce he becomes infuriated by her telling his story, particularly as his memories are different from the stories she shares.
Viola's revelations about t
Stephanie Jane
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

Fred's Funeral is a charming novella exploring mental health and its treatments through the life of a Canadian WWI veteran, Fred Sadler. Sandy Day used the real-life letters of her relative as the inspiration for this fictional account so I felt a strong sense of authenticity throughout the story. We first meet Fred's spirit inexplicably still hanging around at his funeral although he has already caught a glimpse of an afterlife to which he i
Nicola Smith
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I think the first thing that got my attention about Fred's Funeral was the cover image. I love old photos and the picture of a man in WW1 uniform immediately piqued my interest. The story also appealed as we follow the recently deceased Fred as he hovers over his family and listens to them talking about him. Unfortunately, what they say, mostly coming from his sister-in-law, Viola, is untrue and Fred would dearly like to set them straight but all he can do is float and grit his teeth.

It's an int
Robbie Cheadle
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fred has just died in his small room in a hospital for the mentally ill. Fred finds himself a ghost, stuck between this life and the next and forced to watch his prissy sister-in-law, Viola, arrange his funeral. Fred seems tied to Viola and his brother, Thomas, and watches on, silent and powerless, as his life is rehashed by Viola to his relatives after the funeral. Viola’s version of the events of his life are unfavourable and cause Fred to think back to recollections of these same events.

N.A. Granger
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fred’s Funeral is a novella by Sandy Day, inspired by hundreds of letters written by the author’s Great Uncle Fred, but a wonderful concoction of her imagination.
Fred Sadler has just died in his room in a hospital for the mentally ill. He sees his cousin and his brother and a whole family of those who died before him, congregating on the other side of an ethereal divide. The problem is, he can’t cross the divide. He finds himself – or at least his consciousness – watching from the ceiling of hi
Terry Tyler
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I read this via an ARC from the author, for Rosie's Book Review Team

Fred's Funeral is a long novella, beginning with the death of Fred Sadler, in 1986. As he dies, his ghost floats up and observes his relatives at his bedside, and follows them to the funeral and back to his family home as they share their memories of him. The book then dips back and forth between present and past, to his childhood in Jackson Point, near Toronto, to his horrific experiences in the First World War, to the
Linda Bethea
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fred’s Funeral

I’m sure most of us wonder how people would feel at our passing. This author painted a beautiful, empathetic picture of this neglected ma.
Andy N
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fred’s Funeral
My Rating: 4 Stars
A sweet novella that teaches us that we need to value people when they’re alive.
Fred Sadler just died of old age in his nursing home. After serving in WW1, Fred returned home struggling to cope with everything he saw. After getting in one of the too many problems, especially with alcohol, he’s placed in Whitby Hospital for the Insane. Feeling like his family doesn’t understand him nor isn’t interested enough to listen, Fred lives the rest of his days feeling lost
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: november-2018
Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day is a moving novella based on letters written by her great uncle Fred who served in the World War One. This is not, however, a story about one man’s experiences in the trenches but rather the story of what happened to him afterwards partly as a result of this.

Told in third person narrative, it starts, as the title suggests, following Fred Sadler’s funeral. Unusually, we see events from the perspective of the deceased Fred as he sits in on his family’s discussion on him
Amie's Book Reviews
FRED'S FUNERAL is based on a true story. The details came from the letters, journals and recollections of the author's Uncle Fred who, like the title character, fought in World War One and returned a changed man.

This story begins when Fred dies alone and basically forgotten in an Ontario Nursing Home.

Fred finds himself stuck between death and the Afterlife and somehow tethered to his estranged family. He floats, invisible, to his own funeral and  the reception afterward.

Fred's relatives, most
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goodreads-win
Goodreads Signed Win

This tells the story of an old man who spent most of his life after World War One locked away in an institute. How most though that he suffered shell shock from his time during the war but was he reall sane.

It takes you on his journey and how he was misunderstood and even now after his death he cannot tell his story. We watch as he attends his own funeral and reencounter his life. The truth behind certain things as his sister-in-law tells her memories of him.

We never truly kn
Denise Levendoski
Thank you to Sandy Day and I won this book in a Giveaway.

This book was a very emotional read, alibet very short. How well do the people that think they know you and know your life, really know it ? One person's treasure another person can't understand why they keep it. People that lived through the exact same situation recount it differently.

If you don't take the time to actually get to know people you really don't know them. And your story that is told by others may not be what i
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novella by Sandy Day packs a lot of story in a small amount of pages!

Fred Sadler has just died and his sister-in-law Viola is handling the funeral with her son John. The story goes back and forth between Viola's recollections of Fred and his own as he listens to the after funeral discussion.

An extremely well written book that poses questions of war, mental illness, legacy, and memory to the reader. This book would be a great book club read.
Mar 02, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, giveaways, kindle

I won this book via Goodreads Giveaways.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Read!

I love this book, read it in a day. Highly recommend its different to anything I've read lately. Bravo Sandy Day!
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fred, a WWI veteran from Canada, realizes upon his death that he has not left a favorable legacy – at least according to his sister-in-law Viola. She voices her strong opinions about Fred's life and character, his dark side, to her family. Fred's ghost rationalizes his past behavior. It can't communicate to the living but will it gain the reader's sympathy? ...more
Marjorie Lindsey
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written story of families and relationships. The author has taken the time to understand and acknowledge the history, sadness, humor and love in an era that is often forgotten, even by relatives. A truly Canadian story that can be appreciated by anyone.
Sandra Danby
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
None of us have the luxury of hearing what is said about us after we are dead. In ‘Fred’s Funeral’, Canadian author Sandy Day tells the story of one soldier, returned from the First World War, who felt misunderstood and sidelined by his family. Only when he dies in 1986, seventy years after he went to war, does he observe his own funeral and find out what they really think of him.
Fred Sadler has lived his post-fighting years in one institution or another. Clearly he is suffering from some form o
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. You can also find my review on my blog:

Taken from a third person perspective, Fred's Funeral is a ghost story of sorts. Fred Sadler has passed on from this life and has not yet moved on to what happens after. Granted, he didn't believe there was anything after life to begin with, but comes to realize that there is more. Now tethered to his horrible sister-in-law, Viola, a
Harlyn Bryan
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From one writer to another I thought that it was a pretty neat thing to utilize real-life letters from the author's uncle as a basis for this piece. I liked the concept of looking back and seeing how people really feel about you or how little they actually know about your life but that it is too late to correct it or ensure they are getting accurate information after you are gone. The piece was well written but it lost me in some of the transitions and in its conclusion. The hallmark of a novell ...more
Erik McManus
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was fantastic! I loved it. It was so cool to see the perspective of a ghost looking down on his own funeral and know what he was thinking. Poor Fred had such a hard life.

He was in the war and when he got back from the war, he was experiencing PTSD but this wasn't even a thing yet so everyone called it Shellshock. He was constantly in and out of a home for the mentally ill because no one could diagnose his disorder and just assumed he was crazy. The poor guy eventually gave up on escapi
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It interesting to know that most of this story is based on facts and a real person. The story is made from information from letters and her families memories of Fred. He had a pretty sad life. You forget how bad and outdated things are back then, they didn’t have the research or the knowledge we do know about mental issues. Or even the drugs. People just brushed it under the carpet back then, it was all about family reputation first.

It did jump quite a bit near the start, going from one year to
Florence Fales
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lost family memories.

Uncle Fred dies of old age. His family has his funeral and then goes to his sister-in-laws house to reminisce. Unfortunately no one remembers much about him. Viola, his sister-in-law didn't care for him so she told not so good stories, but her children find letters Uncle Fred wrote home. They learn quite a bit about him. Quite enjoyable!!
John Lester
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man dies after a long life mostly surrounded by family. There is a big difference in what Fred did and wanted in life and what the family scold describes at his funeral. He was minimized by his own people as it was inconvenient to listen to him or understand.
This is a fast read but a very, very deep piece of writing.
Maureen Reed
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Have you ever pondered the stories of some of uour distant relatives? How did they end where they did? What events changed their lives so that their paths were so different than others?

Fred's Funeral gives some insight into one man, who was a mystery to his relatives. A fascinating read!
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Sandy Day lives in Georgina, Ontario. She is the author of Chatterbox Poems, Fred's Funeral, and An Empty Nest: A Summer of Stories.

She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Her professors included bp nichol and Michael Ondaatje.

Sandy is a AWA-method facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing works

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