It’s a fun read. The end is kinda predictable. It’s a sweet love story without a lot of depth.
But don’t think for a minute that the handling of grief is anything but right on.
Annie Harlowe’s husband dies suddenly and unexpectedly. She and her two young children are left to pick up the pieces.
Her first challenge is facing the reality of how she’s going to support her kids and keep the ocean view shack in which they live. The frustration and helplessness come through the humor. One is made aware of what someone in her situation might go through, without beating the reader over the head with it. While you might smile at Annie’s take on life, you cry with her over the difficulty.
Of course, the grief issues are prominent. Author Wendy Markham does a good job of showing how to deal with a child’s mourning. Youngsters process grief in a very, very different manner than adults do. There is something to be learned from the children, and learning about how adults can deal with it. This part of the book is handled quite well.
As is Annie’s grief. We walk with her through the sadness, the crying that she thinks may never stop, the constant reminders, the overwhelming task of every day life. But where this story shines is in the treatment of a very common side of bereavement – thinking you’ve lost your mind.
Markham is so thorough in leading you through the grief process, that the reader easily follows along into the plausibility of what Annie experiences.
For many, death is final, and no further contact can be made with the deceased.
Many others can present scientific data, and personal experience, to make the opposite point.
Published in paperback in 2005 by Time Warner Book Group, Hello, It’s Me is not a ghost story by any means. It IS a study of how strong emotions can be during a horrendous time, and the psychological effects.
Songwriter Joni Mitchell wrote “Laughing and crying – you know it’s the same release.” So why not try a view of grief just outside the box, with smiles mixed with tears.