The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins
Publishing Date: 9th March 2017
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 296
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
‘Warm, wise and full of heart… I absolutely loved this book.’ Lucy Diamond
Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.
At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.
But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money…
“The Kicking the Bucket List” is Cathy Hopkin’s first adult book – previously she has been writing teen fiction. As soon as I spotted this novel on NetGalley I knew that I want to read it – I love the cover, it’s so uplifting and the three ducks are lovely 🙂 Also, the tag saying “Even when she’s gone, Mum still knows best” is really eye – catching and I just had a feeling that this can be THE book. It is about death and grief but dealing with those issues in a lovely, exceptional way. The writing style is truly great, it was flowing, it was so vivid, bringing all the characters and events effortlessly to life. I couldn’t wait to see what the next task is going to be – some of them were better, some of them not so good but in the end they should have bring the girls together. Did they?
The book started very promising and it quickly started to gain a pace. However, somewhere in the middle it went a little downhill for me, felt a little too slow and too flat, but in the end it gathered pace again. There were many funny moments and I more than once laughed out loud, but it was also full of very poignant moments that almost brought tears to my eyes. There were passages that I loved and passages that I skim – read, as I thought they were not necessary. There were moments that were so important but also some that felt too insignificant. But altogether, I totally enjoyed this story and was engrossed in the three sisters’ lives – the three very different women are the main characters in this story – well, just like sisters can be different. They are sisters by blood but because of life getting in the way they are actually more like strangers – they don’t get in touch, they don’t see each other, they don’t know what is happening with each other. I don’t know if it’s such a typical relationship between sisters? Though, you know, I also have a sister – she’s 8 years younger than me and there is 1000 km between us since more than 10 years now and well, yes, we talk on the phone every once in a while, or we send an email and we know what’s going on in our lives but I wouldn’t call it the perfect sisterhood – although Rose, Daisy and Fleur took their relationship to another level, I think, as they only knew what’s happening with their sisters through their mother – but now she’s gone. She had also added some conditions to her will. The girls must complete some tasks before they receive their inheritance but the main reason is that Iris wanted to bring all her girls together – will she manage, from beyond the grave?
I must say that I liked the characters immediately, probably because they were so honest and genuine in the way they were. Rose, the eldest, is also the bossiest and she seems so cold – hearted. She is the one who wanted to backtrack from the challenge – Dee thinks it’s because she’s so stand – offish, has enough money and doesn’t need to be afraid of the future. But – is this the real reason? The more you read the more you learn about Rose and her reasons. Yes, she was smart alec, she thought she knows best but I think that deep down it was because she was the eldest and somehow she always felt the responsibility for her younger siblings.Daisy, the middle sister, is an artist and she often has her head in the clouds – she, unlike Rose, doesn’t own a home, she only rents it and Rose can’t understand why. Dee turns 50 in the book and her birthday party, especially the song sang by Anne and Marie was fantabulous! Dee is single, and her only daughter lives in Australia. After the misfortunate relationships Dee decided no more men in her life, she’s going to concentrate on her art but well, how do they say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans – because a man, or even more, appear on the scenes. Dee is desperate to make the challenge her mum set for the sisters, as without her part of the inheritance she can’t buy the house she’s currently living in. But she also wants to connect with her sisters again, she misses them – really misses them. Then we have Fleur, the youngest one, real power – woman who runs a very prosperous property portfolio and next to having some fancy apartments all over the world she also has one in London. I’d personally love to know more about Fleur, because I have a feeling that I didn’t get to know her as much as I’d like, she was the closed, withdrawn one, even though she probably had the sharpest tongue of all of them.
There is also Daniel, the man who was helping Iris organizing the tasks for the girls. Let me just tell you that from the very beginning there was something in him that made me unsure. I didn’t trust him, full stop. Was I right?
Dee is the main character in the story and it’s told mostly from her point of view, however there are also chapters told by Rose and Fleur, so we also get a chance to get to know – and understand – them much better, especially Rose. I also totally adored how the relationship between them was developing – it was not too quick, it was not a bed of roses and it’s good, because then it would seem too unrealistic, and doing it this way the author has made it much more authentic and genuine. Well, you can’t fall into each other’s arms after years of hidden grudges and animosities and not being in touch, right? So it was a real joy to see how eventually the girls start to stick up for each other. And they loved their mother. They could be different, they might have not agree on different issues, but what they had in common was the fact that they loved Iris, so I imagined how emotional it must have been for them, to see her in the video messages. The author has brilliantly captured all the emotions between the sisters, this great deal of misunderstandings, hurt and jealousy. I think she described it just like it is in real life. The way they picked on a word or two and chose to understand it the wrong way, the way they jumped to conclusions, well, it was just so realistic and honest. Also the reasons why the sisters didn’t want to partake in the challenge were thoroughly explained, the secrets were revealed and it really let us understand what and why.
I truly enjoyed “The Kicking the Bucket List” by Cathy Hopkins. It was emotional, it was full of feelings, it was incredibly funny and poignant, just the perfect mix. It made me pick my phone and call my mum and sister, just to hear their voices, to know they are there. It is a story that will probably make you think and re – evaluate your relationships and show you that you shouldn’t take them for granted. It is a book about appreciating what you have because it can happen that very suddenly there will be nothing more to appreciate, a lovely and warm story about finding happiness and contentment. Recommended!