The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide

The Household Guide to Dying

Delia Bennet has a wonderful life. She is in her late thirties, happily married with two young children. She has a lovely home. She has moved from magazine journalism to writing a series of highly successful modern household guides.

But there is a major problem – Delia is terminally ill.

And so the story follows Delia through her day to day life as she sets out to put together one final guide – “The Household Guide to Dying”.

She composes her advice to the dying and their loved ones Delia realizes that there are things she has left undone. Things she has to put right. How? Well one day she climbs into her car, and sets off on a trip.

It would be unfair to say any more than that. The plot takes turns which are often unexpected but never unbelievable.

Delia’s story moves around in time in a style that falls somewhere between reportage and stream of consciousness. It’s a little odd, but it works, and the narrative voice is idiosyncratic and wonderful.

In the early stages I had to pay close attention to keep track of exactly what was happening when, and that made it difficult for me to be fully engaged.

But gradually I was drawn in and eventually I was completely involves in Delia’s story. I came to know her and to care very much care about her.

This is a very emotional book. There are some heart-breaking events, and of course there can’t be a happy ending, but it is never sentimental.

This isn’t a book for everyone. But if the subject matter doesn’t make you say “no” I would definitely recommend it.

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