First off I have to admit that this has been a ridiculously hard post to write. It’s been a work in progress since about a week after I finished Planning to Live back in April. Why was it such a difficult book to review? It’s not because it wasn’t good. I don’t think Heather Wardell is capable of writing a book I don’t like. It’s because of the ending. I know things can’t be sunshine and roses all the time but I had a hard time dealing with the conclusion of Rhiannon’s story. Do I think you should read it? Absolutely. Do I think others will have a hard time with the ending? Most likely. I’ll keep this review brief but I encourage you to go read it yourself (you can buy it here, here, or here).
Here’s the synopsis:
Determined to lose weight for her best friend's wedding, goal-obsessed Rhiannon flees her parents' Christmas Day feast to avoid overeating but her car skids off the deserted road into a tree. Trapped and bleeding, with her cell phone out of reach, she struggles to escape, and to accept that she's spent her whole life planning but hasn't ever really lived. Will she get the chance to change that?
Through emails back and forth with Heather I learned that many others have struggled with reviewing this book as well. She even told me that she wanted to have the ending be different but couldn’t think of a way to have what we all wanted but still have a good ending. I get it. I really do. But I’m still sad.
I am happy, however, to find out that Andrew will be making an appearance in Heather’s latest, Finding My Happy Pace. I enjoyed what I read of him in this book and look forward to learning more about him.
Rhiannon’s story was both uplifting and devastating. She struggled with many things – her weight and the death of her fiancé being the main ones – but she never wanted to give up on life. It was interesting to read about her issues and see how the people closest to her tried to help.
I liked how the story was written. Rhiannon would think back to something, there would be a flashback, and then she would reflect on what happened. It was nice to see how she reacted as the event/issue/conversation was happening and also to see how she felt about it later. Well done.
I can’t really say too much else so I’ll just repeat myself – read this book. It was well worth my time and made me think about my own life a little bit too. Planning to Live will find itself among some of my favourites and Heather Wardell is still firmly in place as one of my favourite authors.
Happy reading :)