Title & Author: All That’s Left of Me, Janis Thomas
Publication Date & Publisher: June 12, 2018, Lake Union Publishing
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
My rating: 3.0
Summary (from Goodreads):
It starts with a simple wish, and Emma Davies hardly notices when it comes true. She’s too preoccupied with a life she isn’t happy in—the spark in her marriage has fizzled, her career is headed nowhere and her boss is a misogynist. Her teenage daughter has grown distant, and her heart breaks daily for her teenage son with cerebral palsy. But soon Emma discovers her wishes are coming true, and she realizes that she has been given the power to change her life. Either that, or she’s going insane.
Emma begins testing her newfound gift, making calculated wishes and learning one important rule—once granted, they cannot be undone. Over time, she grows bolder as she builds up to the one wish she both fears and desperately longs to make. But when Emma finally gets everything she’s asked for, will it be worth the price?
There’s so much in All of That’s Left of Me that works and sucks you in to a world where wishes coming true is possible, that it’s hard to believe it was such a disappointing read for me. (Maybe my hopes were set just a little too high???)
The story itself was compelling and it definitely keeps you interested enough to keep reading!
The supporting characters were great!
Emma’s children are incredibly lovable, funny and realistic teenagers. This is something I haven’t found in adult novels lately (was starting to think most adult novelists have never met an actual teenager). As the mother of two teenagers, it was refreshing to get “real” teens in this read.
I felt for Emma’s husband throughout the novel. She wasn’t happy in her marriage, but it didn’t seem to be through any real fault of his own. Emma seems to still be pining away for her college boyfriend and I often wondered if he knew this on some level. I was definitely rooting for him and found myself thinking “What the heck is wrong with you, Emma? You’ve got a great man right there.” But that’s the thing…
The whole book can be boiled down to Emma’s dissatisfaction with her life. She isn’t thankful for a single piece of it. Her children, her husband, her job, her clothes…she wants it all to be “better.” Emma herself sums it up nicely:
…I had love. I had a husband, two children, each of them flawed, but no more so than I. Less flawed than I. But instead of accepting them for the gifts they were, instead of letting them in and allowing them to love me, I saw them as challenges to endure, hardships to survive, encumbrances that dragged me under. I wanted a life with no burdens, no conflicts, no struggles…
Unfortunately, not everything seemed to make sense to me.
For instance, supposedly all of Emma’s wishes come true, but one of her first wishes is to be transported to another dimension without cerebral palsy. There was no “rule” to say this wish couldn’t happen, and would’ve actually been in line with some of her other wishes. While this wasn’t a huge killer for me, it definitely didn’t help.
Her son has cerebral palsy and she translates for him all throughout the book. I feel that this could have been handled a different way. As it’s written, it continuously pulled me out of the story even though I pretty much skipped the “Josh speak” for most of the novel.
Because of Emma’s constant complaining and her insistence on continuing to make wishes, even after it’s obvious every wish results in something negative, it was hard to ever make an emotional connection with her. This was maybe my number one issue with this book. You spend the entire novel in someone’s head that’s not all that likable.
As I said above, the story itself is great and it’s worth the read, it just wasn’t as great as I had expected it to be. I’d love to hear from you… Are you reading All That’s Left of Me? What do you think?
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.