18 June 2017

Book Review: The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins

"Three sisters. Their mother’s dying wish. One last chance to be a family…Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.

At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with very tricky strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’. 

But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’s bucket list was about so much more than money…"

Rating: 4/5

This book is author Cathy Hopkins' first book for adult, after having written successfully in the teen genre before. I have to admit I wasn't too taken with the cover for this one, it didn't exactly draw me into the book, but I really liked the idea of it, so was determined to ignore my cover judgments and read on regardless! Luckily, the story inside didn't disappoint, and I found it to be a very good read, and while it may perhaps be a bit raw if you have recently lost your own mother, it was an ultimately uplifting family-centric read.

The book is the story of 3 sisters - Dee, Rose and Fleur. They don't really speak any more, and have lost touch, all settling into their own lives. However, their mother Iris has left a stipulation in her will that the sisters have to spend a set amount of time together in order to gain their inheritance, which some of the women need more than others. They're all initially very doubtful that they can make it work, but know that for their mother's sake, they have to make a go of it and at least try. But is it just too big an ask for sisters who seem destined to never be close?

The family dynamic throughout this book was very interesting to read. I am quite close to my brother so I couldn't contemplate being like Rose, Dee and Fleur are with each other throughout this book. The fact they don't have a clue about the big things going on in each others lives is quite sad, and I would never want to be like that personally. However, I was pleased that they were willing to give their family another chance, even if it was only for the reasons of inheritance, and was hopeful of a nice family reunion. Each of the women were very different. There's free spirit Dee, an artist who loves her home in Cornwall but is scared of losing it; Rose, the serious sister who works all hours God sends and finally Fleur, the property magnate who lives a free and single life, and loves it.

The book was quite an emotional read, with each of them struggling to come to terms with the death of their beloved mother, and it made me very grateful that I am yet to have to deal with a loss like that. It didn't seem to matter how successful or well off they are in their private lives, the loss hit them so hard, and it was heart-breaking in times to read their grief and sorrow. Another poignant part of the book involves one of the sisters hiding a painful secret from the other two, I wished she would confide in them, it was very hard to read as she felt she wasn't in a place to ask for help from the people she should always be able to ask for it from.

For me, there were parts of the narrative that went on a little bit too much, and I felt this bogged the book down in the middle part for a while. I found it heavy-going, and some of it could have been lifted without losing the general gist of what was happening. I did find myself putting it down a few times and going back to it, but finally it did pick up the pace again, and kept going towards a very eye-opening finale. The narrative switches up between the three sisters, although the main narrator is Dee, and I enjoyed the way it switched up and kept it fresh. For me, this was an enjoyable book. It was an emotional read, but one I definitely enjoyed reading. There were funny bits that made me laugh out loud, some that made me cry, and poignant storylines that were believable yet very sad. A book that highlights the importance of family, of love and of treasuring what we have whilst we have it. A wonderful book.

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