when you read this

4 stars

I really enjoyed this epistolary novel (Yeah, I had to look that one up too. The definition is “a novel told through the medium of letters written by one or more of the characters.” In this case, the story is told through a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives.

Iris worked with Simon at his PR firm for four years helping his clients with their brands. But Iris died from cancer at only 33 years old. After she died, Simon discovered that Iris had blogged about her last 6 months alive, musing over a life not quite fulfilled. Her last wish of Simon was that he get her blog published. In order to honor her wish, Simon must first get the consent of Iris’s prickly older sister Jade. Jade is a chef and is not only reeling from the loss of Iris, but the loss of her job at a Michelin star restaurant. Simon and Jade come together, and clash apart, as each deal with their grief over Iris’s death and other unresolved issues in their life.

Simon and Jade deal with difficult issues in the book, but just when things get too deep, we get comic relief from unpaid intern Carl. Carl is working for Simon in order to get a letter of recommendation. He is overly eager, overbearing, forthright, and crosses the line in so many ways. He blunders his way through the job with pure intentions, leaving chaos in his wake. Some of my favorite parts of the book are Carl’s emails.

Despite it’s heavy subject matter, this is a quick and easy read. The book is a funny and warm story about death, the regrets of not living your life to the fullest, and the perils of hiring an unpaid intern. I recommend you read it.