Minus Me by Mameve Medwed
Published by: Alcove Press
Publish Date: January 2021
Genre(s): Fiction, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
HB&W Rating: 4
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Buy on Amazon: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
Her life turned upside down by a grim diagnosis, a small-town Maine woman sets about writing a “How To” life manual for her handsome yet hapless husband.
Annie and her devoted but comically incompetent childhood sweetheart Sam are the owners and operators of Annie’s, a gourmet sandwich shop, home to the legendary Paul Bunyan Special Sandwich–their “nutritionally challenged continual source of income and marital harmony and local fame.”
But into their mostly charmed marriage comes the scary medical diagnosis for Annie–and the overwhelming challenge of finding a way to help Sam go on without her. Annie decides to leave Sam step-by-step instructions for a future without her, and considers her own replacement in his heart and their bed.Her best-laid plans grind to a halt with the unexpected appearance of Ursula, Annie’s Manhattan diva of a mother, who brings her own brand of chaos and disruption into their lives.
Minus Me is a poignant and hilarious novel about the bonds of marriage, the burdens of maternal love, and the courage to face mortality.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
Thank you to Mameve Medwed for gifting me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Why is such a big deal always made about the first tooth, first step, first kiss, first love? From her perspective, it’s the last of everything that holds more meaning, more power, more poignancy.
New readers may not know this, but I’m a breast cancer survivor (5 years at the time of this post), diagnosed at age 32 when my youngest child wasn’t even a year old yet. To say I can relate to the feelings and emotions going through Annie’s head is an understatement. The feeling of the hangman’s noose around your neck and closing when you still have so much left to do, to give, to live…I get it. Imagining how your loved ones’ lives will be changed without you in them is unfathomable.
With equal parts grim resignation and wry humor, Annie begins this unimaginable task in an effort to help her hapless husband carry on when she is no longer there to help him. Her instruction manual starts out as quick thoughts on post-it notes carried in her pocket (examples of which begin each chapter and were one of my favorite things), but soon she begins a more formal format on her computer. The first entry in this manual that we get to read comes at the end of chapter 7, and I was teary-eyed and emotional after reading it.
Just when Annie thinks things can’t get any worse, she learns that her estranged, narcissistic, actress of a mother is coming into town, challenging things she thought she knew about herself, her deceased father, and her mother. And worse, she finds out Annie’s big secret.
Smart writing, relatable situations, and humor define this book about the different types of relationships we have: romantic, familial, fraternal, and the things that really matter in life. Medwed has achieved the perfect balance of depth and levity in her story with characters that aren’t always loveable but leave you cheering for them anyway. I could see this as the perfect beach read to escape from reality for a little while. Or as it just releases this month, it’s a perfect wish-you-were-on-the-beach read.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for fans of women’s fiction and book clubbers looking for a new discussion-worthy book.
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