Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Alternative Remedies for Loss” as Want to Read:
Alternative Remedies for Loss
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Alternative Remedies for Loss

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  77 reviews
An Amazon Best of the Month Selection for May 2018

A slyly funny coming-of-age novel about a young woman fumbling her way into the mysteries of loss and the travails of adulthood as she tries to make sense of a vanished mother's legacy.

When 22-year-old Olivia learned that her mother had only months to live, she pulled up roots, leaving Vassar and her career plans far behin
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published May 24th 2018)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Alternative Remedies for Loss, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lisa A lot! Hash, Xanax, weed, maybe even an Oxycontin? There was a lot in my opinion.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  360 ratings  ·  77 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Elyse Walters
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s Sunday morning at 4:45am. I literally finished this book seconds ago. I love writing my reviews from bed- in the dark next to my sleeping guy. :)
This was a terrific Maui- vacation - cozy- under-the covers/ and lounging by the pool read: Both!

Without sounding cliche...this a great woman’s beach/type novel....that’s great in fall and winter, too. Besides...I ‘am’ at the beach ‘now’ in all around....
it works any season.

The blurb describes the basic plot. Immediately what I like

it perfectly straddled the line between chick lit and literary fiction. it had a protagonist who should've been bratty and unlikable and bleh, and instead was so understandable and endearing. it only had SIX CHAPTERS, WHICH IS INSANE, but still read easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. (kinda.) it was funny and sad and happy and angry and angering. all of the characters (of which there were M A N Y) felt full and human and flawed and still likable. (except michel.) the d
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free as part of an Instagram tour I did to promote the book.

The author did a fantastic job taking you on a journey with the main character, Olivia, following her mother’s death. You really get an in-depth look into Olivia’s mind and how she feels. Olivia felt very real. Sometimes books that are the “coming of age self discovery” type, end up being excessive and unrealistic. The characters will do crazy things and end up in situations that probably would never happen in
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
DNF at 39%

I just can’t force myself through this anymore. Review to come later.
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I liked Alternative Remedies for Loss. It was nothing particularly original, but the emotions felt authentic. The story focuses on Olivia, who is in her early 20s and who’s mother has recently died of a brain tumour. Her father seems to move on quickly with another woman and her two older brothers appear to be in control of their emotions. But Olivia is untethered. There are awkward family scenes, bad decisions about relationships, equivocations over work and education, and a quest to find out m ...more
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I generally don't like novels with very young protagonists, somehow I never build up a true sense of understanding and empathy; this book is quite the opposite.
Despite the fact that Olivia is a young woman searching for herself, while dealing with her memories of her mother, I truly identified with her character. This is a tribute to the author who made youthful confusion, angst and the job of maturing and facing life crises so clear and accessible.

Olivia is reeling from the death of a beloved m
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, womens-fiction
** A copy of Alternative Remedies for Loss was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review **

And here I am, after finishing yet another 'young protagonist struggling with life and their place in it' novel feeling the same way I feel over and over again. Underwhelmed, a little frustrated and wishing for more. Alternative Remedies for Loss isn't any better or worse than other novels of it's ilk, if anything it's probably slightly better than middle of the road. The sto
Lolly K Dandeneau
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog:
'It felt like an iconic moment in the movie of her life gone sour. She knew she should go home- it was just one regrettable night of drinks, nothing that couldn’t be washed off.'

Olivia left Vassar to be with her mother during her final days, and something inside of her withers with the immense loss. Everyone else in her family is coping far better than her. Olivia’s father is dating a woman named June, who seems a bit ‘too comfortable’ for Olivi
Susie | Novel Visits
My Thoughts: Joanna Cantor wisely opened Alternative Remedies for Loss with a short preface that completely grabbed me. From that brief glimpse at Olivia, I definitely wanted to know more. I think this story of a 22-year old woman trying to live with the loss of her mother will appeal to many young women.

“Olivia missed her mom in a way that felt like vertigo.”

Olivia still had her father and two older brothers, but the hole left in her life seemed bottomless. From there, her story moved all over
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alternative Remedies for Loss is the story of Olivia, a 22 year old, who has recently lost her mother to cancer. Everyone in her family has seemingly moved on, including her father who has a girlfriend already. Olivia is lost without her mothers guiding force and is stumbling through adulthood like a lost little puppy. I could relate to Olivia, losing a parent is an earthquake that shakes your very foundation. Grieving a parent can really shake up your life. This book takes you from New York to ...more
Tina Panik
Olivia is completely lost when her mom dies—yet this is not a sad book, as it’s about Olivia’s growth and the consequences of her impulsiveness. You’ll cheer her on as she messes up, then corrects, then messes up her life again and again. Her excursions to India, and her interactions with her siblings, are really well done.

This was an ARC.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family, yoga
I liked it, but I also felt like there was something missing - like I was waiting for something to happen that didn’t and it felt unsatisfying. It also felt like it took a very long time to get going. There was a pretty surprising and fascinating scene right at the beginning - and then.... There were also a lot of characters that felt extraneous and sometimes they confused me a little - her friends were especially easy to mix up.
Danielle Maupai
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is so refreshing to read a story about a character in her early 20s who actually feels real--feels familiar from that period in my own life--in the way she thinks, speaks, feels, acts. It's such a strange, singular phase to reflect back that you maybe miss certain things about the way you experienced life and also can't believe you used to experience life that way! Olivia Harris is a great protagonist--she's at once lovable and, at times, vexing...totally relatable.

This book really g
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The premise is a 22-year-old, Olivia, trying to find her way in the world after the death of her mother to cancer. Olivia makes some unfortunate mistakes trying to find her way but ends up in an ok place while learning a lot about herself and her family along the way.

I felt that Olivia’s character was very relatable and very real. She isn’t perfect, she has very raw emotions and she is indecisive. Yet she is utterly endearing and likable and I found myself rooting
May 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
As Olivia deals with her mother's recent death, she kind of flails her way through everything else. She uncovers a mystery related to her mom. There's no plot (or catharsis) other than Olivia stumbling through life and presumably ending up on the right track by the end. Yet the book sometimes feels all over the place and several questions remain.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe after you read a girls guide to hunting and fishing all the tropes of women coping by making bad decisions about relationships seem unoriginal. I liked the descriptions of color in this novel but the premise felt like something I’d somehow read before.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by a yoga teacher + I appreciate how the practice was woven into the story. I thought Olivia’s character was relatable + I enjoyed the complexity of the characters. I wasn’t sure what to expect + was pleasantly surprised.
Roxanne Meek
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars! I really liked this one and read it fast. The yoga element def added to it for me but it was a good story!

Pure pleasure to read. Smart. Witty. Cantor is a beautiful writer. Very successful debut novel. Can’t wait to see what she writes next!
Ronni Greenberg
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to get a copy of this wonderful book in advance of publication. Joanna is a brilliant writer and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her first book. Can't wait for the next one!
I really wanted to enjoy this book. It's not that I don't like it, but I find it hard to pick back up. I will finish it as it is the ARC from Goodreads; however, it has not peaked my interest so far.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
One hundred pages in and I forgot there was going to be a thread of a mystery with the protagonist's mother. The exploration of the main character, Olivia Harris, and her struggle to deal with her grief over the loss of her mother was story enough.

Once the unraveling of the mother's mystery began, the pacing if the story seemed to lag. There were a lot of details about traveling and living arrangements that didn't further the story's depth or momentum. I wish the middle of the story had been mor
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know why the synopsis of ‘Alternative Remedies for Loss’ by Joanna Cantor says it’s ‘slyly funny’ novel, because I wasn’t laughing or smiling while reading. The story was messy, chaotic and that is exactly why I like it.

As we know from the synopsis, the novel is about a girl Olivia whose mother recently died. Olivia couldn’t move on and seemed annoyed that her brothers and father could. So she was all alone with her sadness. I think, that was the reason why she did some stupid things an
May 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

When Olivia learned that her mom had been diagnosed with cancer and given just 3 months to live, she pulled out of her last semester of college to be with her mom for the time she had left. Now that her mom is dead, Olivia doesn't know how to go on with life and is miffed and confused that her dad and brothers seem to have no problem moving on. Unsure what to do but not ready to go back to school, Olivia gets a job
Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
Thank you to Bloomsbury USA and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book.

I bet you wouldn’t expect a novel about grief to be a light, easy read, but Joanna Cantor’s debut novel is both! I flew through it in just a few days at the beach…and it was an excellent beach read despite the focus on grief. During the Prologue, I was wavering about whether or not to continue reading, then something completely unexpected and interesting happened that caused me to keep going…and I’m so glad I did. This e
I can't say I enjoyed this one. I found Olivia to be annoying and frustrating. I can give her a pass for some of her behaviors because she just lost her mother, and her father gets into another relationship rather quickly. But her behavior with G and Marcel at work... really? There is a word for that, and it is NOT flattering. And to behave that way with clients? Youth and grief are not an excuse for that.

The girl is a disaster, and seems to be incapable of learning from her mistakes. While she
Joseph Piekarski
Best novel I have read in 2018 ! I read it over a weekend!
I really enjoyed this novel! Cantor's writing about a family dealing with a loss was fresh, witty and intelligent. I see some other reviews mention the main character, Olivia, not being likable enough or making questionable choices. This puzzles me--I'm not sure why we would only want to read about characters who are always well behaved, as it's not that interesting to me and not true to life for that mater. When I read, I'm hoping for a
Sarah Perchikoff
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book did not turn out to be at all what I expected when I first read the synopsis. I didn't expect there to be so much introspection from of the main character. I guess I expected more romance but there is much more self-discovery than anything else. Olivia goes on a journey and comes back figuring out what she wants (at least for being in her 20s) and who she is. She also finds out things about her mother that makes her rethink their relationship. But before I get too much into the plot, l ...more
2.5 stars. I enjoy a book that exists on that line between literary fiction and contemporary humor/chick-lit, which is what attracted me to Alternative Remedies for Loss. The novel tracks Olivia Harris in the year after her mother's death. Twenty-two, she feels unmoored and isolated by her grief, propelled towards decisions and choices that she never would have made before. I did like the writing style and pacing of the novel. It kept me engaged with the book and made this a very fast read for m ...more
Paperback Paris
—The review below was authored by Paperback Paris Staff Writer, Melissa Ratcliff. Read more.

In her debut, Alternative Remedies for Loss , Joanna Cantor paints a picture of grief through Olivia, a twenty-two year old woman who is struggling to find her identity after the loss of her mother, who, in many respects, was her only source of security. Believing herself to be the only one truly affected by her mother’s loss, Olivia blunders through a new path in life – one that is unexpected and tumult
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • All This Could Be Yours
  • The Columnist
  • Wifey 101: Everything I Got Wrong After Finding Mr. Right
  • The Grace of Crows
  • If You Want Me to Stay
  • Flood Summer: A Novel
  • In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Reflection & Prayer
  • Popular
  • Bad Reputation (Bad Bachelors, #2)
  • A Country Doctor
  • Lonesome Lies Before Us
  • The Folded World
  • The Solo Travel Handbook
  • Shining City
  • Dua Belas Pasang Mata
  • Thieves of Book Row: New York's Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Stopped It
  • Sci-Fi Junior High
  • They Live
See similar books…
Joanna Cantor received her M.F.A. from Brooklyn College and her B.A. from Colorado College. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
“Her craving for abstraction, for metaphor, was almost physical, but she could not will herself to construct meaning from her surroundings.” 1 likes
“They nodded, polite and distant. It wasn't just that they didn't understand what the past year had been for her, she saw, but that they didn't want to try to understand. Loss, grief---her friends insulated their youth against such things, as if to even truly acknowledge then was an invitation.” 1 likes
More quotes…