Review of The Fun Widow’s Book Tour by Zoe Fishman @WmMorrowBooks

Even as I contemplate these first few words, I think that this review will perhaps be as difficult to write as the book, which I almost didn’t finish as early as a fifth of the way through, was to read. But many things that we think are easily determined are not as black and white as we imagine. Gray, gray, gray, dears, and sometimes it’s just best to not form an opinion too soon. Despite wanting ever so much to throw a book very, very hard against a wall. Or out of a window. Or whatever your mode of action might be.

Before I start reviewing, I’d like to take a moment to offer advice to authors. Don’t suggest your reviewers are “out for blood, just like they always were” even if this is your writer character talking who very strongly resembles you. And, maybe this is something to shrug off due to a writer’s venting. But. It struck a wrong chord. Reviewers want desperately to love your books, writers. Why on earth would we want to hate the books we read and provide harsh reviews? Would that make us seem cool? Buy us an audience? Nope. We want to love the books we read because we are foremost readers and readers love to read more than almost anything else. Probably as much as writers love to write. Just a thought. Suggestion. Advice.

Blurb: Mia used to be fun. She was the class clown; a member of the mile high club; the mom who made her sons giggle with her bad British accent and well-placed tickles.

But three years after the death of her husband, there’s no time for that. She’s the only parent they have.

Now, her memoir is out and she has to promote it. But how to sell herself when her heart is still broken? And so her three best friends—Chelsea, Rachel and George—organize her book tour in their respective hometowns. With her father Ira on deck for the boys, Mia sets off on a week-long journey to San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta: her hometown.

Although, Mia’s not just going for herself. Armed with her trademark agenda, she plans to fix her friends’ lives as a means of repayment for all they’ve done. And reluctantly visit Judy, her new stepmother, because she has to—not because she wants to. But even the best agenda is often rendered useless by reality, and Mia realizes that the stories she’s been telling herself are just that. Stories.

If she can rewrite who she is now by revisiting who she was then, maybe she can reignite the flame in all of them. 

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Mia’s husband died unexpectedly two years ago. The grief has been intense. She thought she could keep a part of him alive by writing a memoir that she’s now trying to promote as the world is about to close down due to the pandemic. She visits each of her best friends before lockdown as part of her book tour, but also because she hopes she can repay some of the kindness that they’ve shown her since her husband’s death in Zoe Fishman’s The Fun Widow’s Book Tour.

Much to my disappointment early on in my reading was to discover that there is no fun widow in this book. It’s a sarcastic title because Mia is a long way from feeling fun or funny or anything close to normal. Unfortunately, Mia is also one of the prickliest, most self-absorbed characters I’ve ever read about who is strangely unaware of just how self-absorbed she really is. I won’t say that she exhibits any change as the book progresses but every once in a while there is a glimmer that Mia can view circumstances beyond her own grief. Those glimmers are what kept me with The Fun Widow’s Book Tour.

Ultimately one little passage made me continue and almost like this book. There was a moment where Mia’s pain was palpable, almost a universal pain that anyone (despite Mia’s assertions that we couldn’t conceivably know what she’s going through) could tap into. It’s instances like this where the author reaches their reader, shows a vulnerability we either understand, empathize, or sympathize with. It moves beyond the main character’s prickliness and demonstrates humanity. I can feel for her because I have felt such pain.

As Mia visits each of her best friends, initially judging their relationships and finding them wanting, she is able to ascertain some truths. Not all relationships are the same. Not every relationship has to emulate yours to be fulfilling or good.

One of the most heart-breaking sequences for me was Mia’s treatment of her step-mother. Despite being an adult within inches of middle age, she behaves like a spoiled brat to Judy, the woman her father has married. She makes no attempts to understand that he might be lonely, that he deserves to continue living. She simply thinks about herself and behaves horribly toward Judy. Does that change as covid is about to assert itself? Well, you’d have to read the book to find out.

I won’t come away from this review telling you that I liked The Fun Widow’s Book Tour. I don’t think Zoe Fishman’s writing is for me but obviously is for others. I might try another to see if this is a one off despite knowing that the author’s reality (being an unexpected widow due to similar circumstances, raising two boys known as the dudes, living in NYC after Atlanta, being a writer who has written a fictional account of a writer’s memoir about her husband’s death (yikes!!), etc.,) is very similar (almost the same) to Mia’s whom I’m not certain I could spend an afternoon with is off-putting. But as I learned as I read this book and found parts that actually spoke to me: you never know.

I will suggest that this could conceivably be your-mileage-may-vary.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

2 thoughts on “Review of The Fun Widow’s Book Tour by Zoe Fishman @WmMorrowBooks

  1. Another review! You must not be sleeping to read all these books and write reviews. Another interesting, witty opinion that I enjoyed reading. Thanks!

    1. I am sleeping. Haha. But I am also perpetually behind. After reading/listening to the book, I have forgotten one very important element of being a book blogger and that is actually writing the review. Somehow it doesn’t get magically done although I keep hoping to be visited by magical writing faeries! 😀

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