The Single Dad’s Handbook by Lynsey James
- Publisher : One More Chapter (Harper Collins)
- Publication date : April 2, 2021
- Print length : 299 pages
Welcome to The Single Dad’s Handbook, your comprehensive guide to life without me when I pop my clogs!
It’s been two years since cancer stole Evan Harper’s wife, Claire, from their lives. Although Evan’s doing everything he can to be Super Dad for his five year old, Violet, he can’t seem to get anything right. So he turns to the one person who gives the best advice – Claire herself.
Before she died she wrote him a book of letters to see him through the ups and downs of raising their daughter and her words soon help him see that there is life after loss – and maybe even a second shot at love – when you find the courage to start living again…
It’s time to start living again, Evan. Your new forever starts right here. Love always, Claire
Goodreads’ Rating: ☀️☀️☀️☀️
The Single Dad’s Handbook by Lynsey James is a lovely story that is an amusing and bittersweet journey through grief. Evan Harper lost his wife Claire to cancer at a tragically young age. Now, he must raise their daughter Violet while figuring out how to be himself again after losing someone who was his everything.
I enjoyed how this story tempered the sad with amusing situations that I could relate to as a parent. When he took his daughter to the emergency room, frantic because she was in so much pain, the embarrassing diagnosis is one that I have been through with my own daughter, and let me tell you, it made me laugh out loud to see even a fictional parent go through that. The crazy things parents go through. A handbook was the perfect gift his wife could have left him as all parents feel they need the same thing even when both spouses are alive and well.
I enjoyed the bittersweet letters Claire wrote. Her character shines through so clearly in the way she writes them. I imagine Evan had no problem hearing her voice as he read them and what a comfort that must have been. Grief is complicated. There is no way around that fact. Though Evan’s character isn’t developed as well as I may have liked – the way he handled his grief is. The grief process is developed in a sublime, accessible, and intricate manner that made it easy for me to believe and feel so much compassion for this single dad. He is up. He is down. He feels like the clouds are parting. He feels like the world is crumbling down around his shoulders. Can anything explain grief better than that?
I do not think so.
The only thing that is a hiccup in my reading experience is family and friends’ reactions at various points in the story. I can understand their concern, but it had been two years since Claire passed. To see them force Evan into decisions he disagreed with after all this time had passed is perplexing to me. I could see these situations happening in the weeks and months after she died but not two years later. I felt like I must be missing some crucial pieces to the story.
Suppose you want to read a story that will have you laughing, crying, and feeling like there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark things have become. In that case, this story is the perfect one for you.