The Young Widowers Handbook: ARC Review



This book gets two out of five beans.

One bean for having a beautiful cover and drawing me in with the description, and one bean for the handful of lines that made me feel something.


First off, allow me to enlighten you on how I react when reading books of this nature (meaning books that are dark but have funny moments and are about DEATH). I cry a lot. I cry very easily. So you can imagine that usually when reading a book about death, I am a mess and I try to never read these types in public because I don’t want to embarrass myself by allowing complete strangers to view me openly sobbing.

I mean death is sad, it’s supposed to be especially sad when someone who has been married for such a short time loses their wife suddenly. However, I did not cry at any point of this novel. I did not shed one tear, I hardly even had any feelings about the plot of this story. So what does that tell you?


The idea of the novel is simple enough: A young man loses his wife suddenly, and unable to cope with her death, abandons his home and heads across the country alone with his wife’s ashes in search of something to make of it. 


That drew me in, I thought “Hell yeah, it’s about time I read something sad, I need a good cry or twenty.”

I had a very hard time actually liking the protagonists character. He was always complaining about something, anything. Understandably, one would have reason to complain when their wife has just died, but even in flashbacks of his life before he was a constant critique. I actually found myself TRYING to feel bad for this guy, and failing.

Then, there was no climactic event in the story, there were a few times I thought something was about to happen, but then nothing really did. He went from his home on the east coast all the way to the pacific ocean, and somehow managed to make it sound boring.

There was one point at the end, which was my favorite part, after he’d let his wife’s ashes fly away from him, that I felt a small tinkling of empathy for the character, but that was it. It vanished as quickly as it came.

imagesThe journey is over, it says. When he opens his eyes he sees the waves still charging toward him, and in each wave’s crest he sees Kait raising up out of the sea and then diving back down. In the mist he feels her touch covering him completely; in every cloud he sees the outline of her body, in each grain of sand he sees her face; in the oxygen and nitrogen of the atmosphere, he feels her physical presence with him in a way he hasn’t since he drove away from home. Nobody in the world can see it, but she is sitting next to him and her arm is draped over his shoulder and she is saying in his ear: I was real and you were real and that’s all you can ask for.

The Young Widowers Handbook, Tom McAllister

I wanted to like this book so much! And I really did try, but unfortunately, I did not and would not recommend it.




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