Knowing the real life woman, portrayed in the fictionalized "Paisley" character, this novel presented problems too great for me to overcome. The author's own admissions, the food deliveries, the ribbon adorned trees, the time between diagnosis and death with the exact same cancer, the two homes in our neighborhood where the family lived, and the description of the surrounding wooded areas, are but a few of the things in the book, that were exact, not fiction.
Will my deceased neighbor's mother and father, or her three daughters be able to distinguish between what is true, what was exaggerated, what was absolutely false, and what may be considered libelous? Over time the youthful memories, that the daughters have of their mother, will blur. There is no doubt, the family will forever recognize their story. Will they be able to overcome the doubts and embarrassment created by Ms. Bache's tales, of their mother's shoplifting, drinking, and sex with a neighbor?
With little effort, Ms. Bache could have made the family unrecognizable in this book, but she chose to exploit their tragedy. The reason for this escapes me. The book brings dishonor to the memory of a truly remarkable wife, mother, friend, and neighbor. I am left to believe this book was written as a catharsis for the author's own reactions to our neighbor's death, with little concern for the pain its explicit, false, details about this young mother's life, would cause others.
The "real Paisley" was a woman who brought love and joy into and changed the lives of countless others. She perfected "The Art of Saying Goodbye" For that recognition alone, I applaud Ms. Bache.
For reader's in other states, other communities, it will be a book that touches your heart.