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The Young Widower's Handbook: A Novel by Tom…
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The Young Widower's Handbook: A Novel

by Tom McAllister

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I wanted to like this book. I was interested in the idea of the story. Unfortunately, I was not able to connect with Hunter and the book really was a slow read for me. I will tell others who I think would like the book, but it was not for me. ( )
  sdbookhound | May 22, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was expecting more from Hunter. I loved Kait's personality, but Hunter was very whiney and drove me crazy throughout the book. About midway through the book it feels very slow and drawn out, however, it does pick up, slightly toward the end. ( )
  jleanezy | Nov 25, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Young Widower's Handbook by Tom McAllister was engaging, but the blurbs describe it as "funny" and possessing a "dry humor." I didn't find it funny at all. I read about an unemployed man who fell in love with an organized, insecure woman who calmed his fears as he calmed hers, the anxiety over the cost of their wedding and buying their home, his anguish when she went for a jog, doubled up with stomach cramps, went to the hospital and never came out. Then there was the funeral, and flowers and food kept being delivered; he went to the door expecting more flowers and was instead handed a metal cube containing his wife's remains. His redneck in-laws demanded the ashes; his reaction was to pay off the house and flee the state while he tried to decide what to do next. That is what the book is about. I liked it, but I found nothing funny in it at all. ( )
  Patricia_Winters | Sep 19, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Having never been married, I wasn't sure how I would relate to this book. Two pages in and I was hooked by the humor, but also from the raw emotions on the page. I could relate to the loss that the husband (main character and widow) was feeling. That is what is so gripping about this book. You can understand and relate to all the nuances he expresses as he tried to find a way to keep living.

All of the ups and downs, the regrets, the doubts, but also the memory flashbacks are written so well. Anyone who has lost anyone, whether through death or just a bad breakup or fight can relate to the roller coaster of emotions.

What makes the story fun is all of the humorous stories riddled through out the book along with the continuing story of everyday life and how things can go wrong or be effected by our emotions.

Once Hunter (the widowed husband) decides to go on a cross country road trip with Kait (his deceased wife) by his side in her urn and document everything via social media, the book takes a decided quirky but humorous turn.

I enjoyed it. It was a book that kept calling me back to see what happens next. It is a journey of self discovery, not only for the main character but for each reader as you contemplate your own life, if someone close were to pass and our roles in each others life.

Perhaps the only let down for me was the ending. Anti-climatic with Hunter realizing he has to continue living and that in the end, we all need each other. We need other people in our lives.

I would definitely recommend this book to all readers regardless of their current marital state. ( )
  blyng30 | Aug 6, 2017 |
When you say your wedding vows, you expect to spend the rest of your life with that person, til death do you part. But what happens if death comes sooner rather than later? What if you are still young when the one person you love the most in the world, the one person who believed in you over everything, dies suddenly, leaving you alone? How do you go on? How do you define yourself? Who are you now that you're not part of a couple? Tom McAllister's touching novel The Young Widower's Handbook asks these questions even if it can't quite answer them.

Hunter Cady is a little bit aimless and unmotivated. His wife Kait is the one person who believes in him and makes him want to be better. So when she dies unexpectedly while they are still in their twenties, he is set completely adrift. Her crazy, thuggish family blames him for her death following an ectopic pregnancy and they want to claim her ashes. Instead, Hunter takes off with them, embarking on a cross country tour, visiting the places that he and Kait had jokingly suggested they might move to one day. Sunk in his grief, he tells no one where he's gone or where he's headed, just sends photographs of himself holding Kait's ashes at stops along his way to family and friends via social media to reassure them he's still out there. As he travels the country without any clear plan, he runs into quirky people, has odd encounters, and gains some insight into their marriage and the love that he still has for her while trying to learn how to go on without her.

Hunter as a character is not always good and he doesn't always make the best decisions but he's grieving an unimaginable loss and is understandably gutted and numb after Kait's sudden death. In fact, Hunter is completely and totally human, flaws and all, and while this sometimes makes him unsympathetic, most of the time, the reader can understand his thoughtless actions and his lack of consideration for anyone else who cared for Kait. The road trip itself, with its random, unplanned stops and detours, is clearly a metaphor for the emotional journey he's on but it never verges on cliched. The pacing of the novel and the revelations of Hunter and Kait's life together and their now lost plans for the future are woven together well into a lovely and coherent whole. The writing here is beautifully done; the story itself is bittersweet without being sentimental and the ending will tear your heart out with its beauty and its rightness. ( )
  whitreidtan | Jul 19, 2017 |
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"For Hunter Cady, meeting Kait was the greatest thing that ever happened to him. Otherwise unmotivated, he spent roughly half his twenty-nine years accomplishing very little, which makes him about fifteen in terms of real-life experience. But he's the luckiest man on earth when it comes to his wife. Beautiful and confident, Kait is somehow charmed by Hunter's awkwardness and droll humor. So when she dies quite suddenly, Hunter is crushed. Numb with grief, he stumbles forward the only way he knows how: by running away. To the dismay of her family, Hunter takes Kait's ashes with him and heads west. They had always meant to travel. Soon enough, he finds himself--and Kait--in encounters with characters even quirkier than he is: an overzealous Renaissance Faire worker; a raucous yet sympathetic troop of bachelorettes; a Chicago couple and their pet parrot, Elvis. He meets a much older man still searching for the wife who walked out on him years ago. Along the way are glimpses of Hunter and Kait's beautiful, flawed, very real marriage and the strength it gives Hunter, even when contemplating a future without it. Insightful, wry, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, The Young Widower's Handbook is a testament to the power of love" --… (more)

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