Thursday, March 3, 2016

Review: Young Widows Club

Alexandra Coutts - Young Widows Club
Published: November 10, 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository
Rating: 3/5

Seventeen-year-old Tamsen Baird didn’t set out to become a teenage widow. All she did was fall in love and get married. But when her nineteen-year-old husband, Noah, dies suddenly in the middle of the night, her whole life changes. Now Tam is forced to return to the existence she thought she’d left behind—beginning with moving back home and finishing high school. But in order to overcome her loss and find her way forward, she’ll need to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined. She’ll need to open herself up to living—and even loving—again.

In Young Widows Club, Alexandra Coutts depicts a teenager whose struggle with grief and disappointment is heartbreakingly real and, in the end, powerfully uplifting.

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This was pretty phenomenal, but let's talk about it.

Tamsen "Tam" Baird, which is a name I love, is newly-married. All is well. But after her husband, Noah, passes away unexpectedly in his sleep, her world loses color. Suddenly, she is a widow. At seventeen, no less. Her husband's band is itching to return to road life, Noah's parents are equally devastated, and she can barely consider her father and stepmother "family" when they were against her relationship in the first place.

After breaking into a stranger's home for a casual swim, Tam is ordered back to school and forced to attend a support group for young widows (aka: the Young Widows Club) as a form of community service. Far from terrible, right?

There, she meets a plethora of kind women. Other widowers, and one man-widow, Colin. I found it a little strange, there was only one man there, surrounded by women who vented their feelings all day. I thought the author could've casually eased in another man into the group, but okay.

Here's the thing: Colin is a fucking asshole and I'll tell you why. (Pardon the language.)

Colin barely spoke. Like I said, it was a widow support group, mainly populated by women, so why you there, then? Go home. He made thousands of rude comments. He was too personal. I understand your wife passed. Sorry, buddy. That's unfortunate. So when he was describing his wife to Tam - who saw her husband in this grand light, mind you - he was like: "Yeah, she was okay. I thought she was superficial, at first."


Maybe this is me being old-fashioned or whatever, but I think there should be a wait point, God forbid, if someone were to lose their spouse. Six to eight months, at least. Tamsen had Noah on her mind heavy. She'd be crying and sniffling and her heart would be aching. It's something serious, you know. Then, Colin would be around and she'd be climbing all up on him. Like, what the hell's wrong with you? Your husband just died.

And Colin has the nerve to say this drama.
"It means that first, you were Noah's girlfriend, and then you were Noah's wife," he says. "Now, you're Noah's widow, and if you're not careful, that's all you'll ever be."
I would've clocked his ass. Can. You. Believe. The. Nerve.

And not sure why this was never questioned, but when Tamsen was describing how she and Noah first met. He did sound pretty charming, though. Musically talented and all. But they started dating while she was elementary and he was in high school??? Is that not odd to anyone else?

For the most part, I did like Tamsen. She's relatable and her grief is genuine, but I liked her more in the beginning. She lost my sympathy when she started hanging with Colin. Her best friend, Lula, is so fabulous. Back in the day, Tamsen forgot about her when she got a man, then came back for her and she was perfectly fine with it??? She's so nice. I need her as my best friend, too.

The ending was only okay. The writing has a gorgeous simplicity, nonetheless. I'd recommend, but try to avoid Colin at all costs.

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