The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom
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Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…
Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.
And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.
Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?
From No. 1 bestseller Tracy Bloom, The Last Laugh is both hilarious and heartbreaking, a book about how to find happiness and live your life as though every day is your last. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and The Kicking the Bucket List.
The Thoughts of VeilysReviews;
This book has it all. It’s funny, it’s lively, it’s heartbreaking & emotional.
We meet Jenny on her birthday. She’s out with her husband and two children for her birthday meal yet feels like she’s on her own. Her other half can’t leave his phone alone, and the two kids are the same. Glued to their screens. Not one of them pick up on the panic and worry that Jenny is carrying around with her and desperately hoping to forget. Forget about the life changing, life ending illness she has.
It’s a monumental kick in the teeth sort of a day. Jenny finds out she has terminal cancer. Nothing can be done. So she goes to the one person she feels she can talk too. The one person in the whole world she needs right now, her husband of 20 years. What she wasn’t expecting to see was his bare backside shagging the blonde over his desk. What can she do but shut the door quietly and walk away, keeping this secret hers alone.
After all the god awful things that have happened she starts thinking about the past, her happiest ever times. 20 years ago, 1996, when she was a holiday rep in Corfu and she met Mark. After chatting to her friend Maureen. One of the oldies in the Shady Grove nursing home where she works, and confiding in her, Jenny decides to recapture this happy time and give herself the best party ever! A living wake if you will, so she can see and enjoy her family and friends enjoying themselves one last time as Jenny. Normal, pre-cancer Jenny. Cue a new hairstyle Geri Halliwell, spice girls circa 1996. Cue sumo suits and foam guns & bouncy castles. Food and drink flowing, friends old & new, reunions in abundance.
Jenny is a really strong leading lady. An independent woman who holds her head high and doesn’t let this terminal disease bring her down. As she doesn’t tell anyone until after the party she has to cope with all her emotions floating around her head. Every time i thought “why do you not tell anyone? ” something happens that lets me know why. her husband being unfaithful, her mother completely ignoring her, putting her down and always with a disparaging remark. her brother Antony who conveniently, is nowhere to be seen when it comes to helping look after their father who suffers with dementia.
The book explores Jennys thoughts, feelings and emotions as she wonders about what will happen when she’s gone. How will her two teenage children cope? What will happen to Mark? She wont see her daughter get married, or her grandchildren born. Now you see where the emotional part comes into it, and yes, at times it did make my lip tremble as i thought, ‘What if that was me?’ It made my stomach clench and chest tighten as i began to question my own life whilst reading this. If nothing else it gets the message across, life’s too short. Grab it while you can and be happy. This is what i will take away from this book.
Extremely well written and well balanced. This is obviously not an easy subject to tackle and is especially hard when you add humour to this serious situation. Tracy Bloom however, has managed it perfectly. It’s a book i will definitely be recommending.
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