‘This Shining Life’ is the latest book by Harriet Kline.
When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through. At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it? But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened. Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.
This book is seen the perspective of a family as they deal with grief and loss.
Outspoken and fun Rich has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and wants to make the most of his last days. He puts together a gift list for his nearest and dearest, only for it to get messed up leaving his wife, son and best friend with a puzzle to solve after his death.
This story is a deep exploration of grief and how everyone reacts differently to it. Ruth never imagined a life without Rich in it and now sheâ€™s alone, sheâ€™s struggling to deal with grief as well as manage Ollie, their only son. Ollie has Autism and struggles with emotions and has outbursts as he tries to understand his fatherâ€™s death. These struggles are hard as other members of the family try to understand him as well as deal with their own grief. Angran, whoâ€™s Ruthâ€™s mother is seen as a hard woman who lives in the woods, but underneath her hard and brash exterior is a woman who cares deeply for her children and finds there is more to life than material goods. Whilst Rich is dying, his parents have to deal with his father developing dementia and having moments of clarity and other times is confused as to what is going on. And just like with Ollie, this can also make for upsetting reading.
This story is emotional reading, focusing on sensitive subjects such as grief, terminal illness as well as dementia. I particularly found the narratives from Ollie intriguing as he dealt with grief and coming to terms with loss and how he tried to rationalise life as he needs structure and order in this chaotic world.
I loved how the mishap with Richâ€™s gifts became a puzzle and this helped the family with their grief and unite them and helped Ollie deal with death.
This story is a sad one but Harriet has included some humour into the debut to bring a smile to the readerâ€™s face. â€˜This Shining Lifeâ€™ is a skilfully written book about life, hope and loss.
You can buy ‘This Shining Life’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.