avid (Springfield, IL)
don't let the subject matter turn you off
How can a book about the narrator's impending suicide make you laugh? Ashley Ream pulls it off with her sharp wit and incredible voice. There are life lessons here, but so much humor, you don't really realize it 'til the end. What a great read!
Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)
Self discovery or self absorption?
This book lacked the humanity that would have anchored such an uncomfortable topic in something less self obsessed. While other books like Veronica Decides to Die or A Long Way Down make suicide secondary to the vibrancy and or humor of their character, if was as if Clementine was overshadowed by the topic. It lacked the sardonic satire that makes it utterly comical and human at the same time, and lacked the connection and vulnerability necessary to really care about the main character.
Karen L. (Chicago, IL)
Clementine Prichard, renowned artist, just wants to put herself out of her misery. Giving herself a month to get her affairs in order, she counts down the days, chapter by chapter to her impending suicide. With a plot line of this nature you would expect a heavy, depressing story. What you will find instead is an interesting, realistic depiction of mental illness handled with humor and heart. Clementine is irresistible as the main character. She is wildly funny in a deeply flawed way. You know you shouldn’t be rooting for her, but you just can’t help yourself. The rest of the cast is equally well developed, including her miserable cat. While the majority of the book is entertaining, there are a few deeply moving, intensely sad scenes that are unavoidable when dealing with the reality of bi-polar disorder. Emotionally draining, these scenes lend an air of authenticity to the subject. Losing Clementine surprises in the end, circumventing the predictability you might expect in a lesser novel. I am very happy I found Clementine. Highly recommended.
Bea C. (Liberty Lake, WA)
A humorous look at preparing for suicide.
At the beginning of the book I didn't care for Clementine, an artist who has a mental condition and decides to end it all rather than spend the rest of her life on drugs. As the story carries on, she seems more likable and I was interested to see if she ever finds her father. Lots of humor, even in the fairly graphic sex scenes.
Beth M. (Scarsdale, NY)
A compulsive read you don't want to end
I loved this book. Clementine is a wonderfully drawn character, full of flaws but heartbreakingly sane. She's made a decision to end her life and just wants to finish a few things. However, life intrudes and her journey is wonderful. The story is bold and funny and you find yourself identifying with many of her thoughts and actions. This is a great read!!!!
Elaine G. (West Lafayette, IN)
The characters in this book were nearly all seriously dysfunctional and in need of far more than a drug, as is true for her, to function. Very black, not a flicker of light in the story. Irresponsible, self centered, and such words come to mind. I have had hard times myself as a child and on and have never acted or thought as these characters do. Takes more than relating such to end up with a good book. However, the act of writing it might have been cathartic for the author, assuming it did relate to her.
Joan V. (Miller Place, NY)
If “Clementine” is as good an artist as Ms. Ream is an author she must be terrific. This was a very interesting look into the human psyche, and written in a realistic way, but also very funny. You are immediately swept up into the story because you have so many questions. Right up front: Will she really kill herself? Then: why is she on all the meds? Will she meet her father? and other questions.
Ms. Reams uses a lot of description and I found it to be cinematic, I think the book would make an excellent movie. Once in awhile however, she changes scenes too suddenly but the reader quickly catches up with the story.
There is also a surprising twist that you never see coming. In a book like this predictable would be awful.
I definitely would recommend this book to a friend and think it would be interesting for a book club discussion. I look forward to reading another book by Ms. Ream.