Friday, March 8, 2013

The After Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer FIC GRAZER

The author of this book, Gigi Levangie Grazer, is probably more well known to you than you realize. She wrote the screenplay for the movie, Stepmom, based on her own experiences with her step-children. She also wrote the book Maneater and The Starter Wife (also found at FIC GRAZER), both of which were turned into television series on Lifetime. Her book, Queen Takes King, is currently being turned into a Lifetime movie. It seems that Gigi Levangie Grazer has a lot of insight into Hollywood (and what goes on behind closed doors).

The After Wife mainly deals with the aftermath of the accidental death of her husband, John. Hannah Bernal finds out quickly that Hollywood (and the rest of Los Angeles, even) is not a place for widows, and no one (except her close group of friends she calls "The Grief Team") are remotely interested in dealing with her grief, or other issues that come from a sudden death. Unfortunately for Hannah, life has to continue on (though she has major difficulties with this fact). There is her three-year-old daughter, Ellie, who needs to be fed, taken to school, and picked up from said school. There are bills to be paid, a dog to walk, and sleep to be had (sometimes). "The Grief Team," which consists of Hannah's best friend and producing partner, Jay (a gay man who dresses her and her daughter, makes sure she has someone to talk to, and makes her go out and do things), Chloe (a cause supporting lover of all things healthy and natural, who keeps Hannah in tune with how to help Ellie and tries to keep her going, especially with vegan food), and a close friend she made through work, actress, Aimee (who is the truth teller and not good at all with the things that go along with grief) have their hands full with just keeping Hannah going.

One night Hannah discovers something interesting, when the past owner of her home, Casa Sugar, (the dead past owner, by the way) decides to talk to Hannah about the house and her feelings. Hannah, who had never been able to see and talk to the dead before, starts to wonder if she is starting to lose her mind. The ghost, Trish, makes a lot more sense to her than the members of her grief team, though. As time goes by, Hannah sees more and more ghosts, and then she finds out that even her daughter is communicating with her late father. The ghosts lead Hannah to the loss of her job, then she gets arrested, and then she finds out that John left their finances in disarray. Will Hannah be able to pull her life (and herself) out of all of the mess and move on?

I am listening to the book, and the reader, Kathe Mazur, does a wonderful job. I do warn you, though, that you will need to know a bit about Hollywood to understand a lot of the little jokes that Grazer makes throughout the story. I understood about half (I am not a Hollywood buff), but the parts that I did understand  were very funny. This is an interesting look at grief and the strange places it can take you, but you keep cheering for Hannah, Ellie, and The Grief Team the whole way.

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