The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom
Publishing Date: 23rd February 2018
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 294
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Buy the Book: Kindle
‘I’ve googled it, how to die,’ Jenny says to Maureen. ‘It was full of climbing this mountain, swimming that sea, becoming a marathon runner and raising millions for charity.’
‘Sounds like bloody hard work. You can make it more fun than that surely?’
Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…
Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.
And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.
Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990’s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?
From No. 1 bestseller Tracy Bloom, The Last Laugh is both hilarious and heartbreaking, a book about how to find happiness and live your life as though every day is your last. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and The Kicking the Bucket List.
I don’t know if “The Last Laugh” is a new direction for the author, or she has just wanted to try something new for a moment – whatever it is, it has worked and Tracy Bloom has delivered a wonderful, poignant story. It is being advertised as a “romantic comedy”, however I wouldn’t agree with this, for me it was more poignant than laugh – out – loud, although the book had its funny moments as well – of course, it is Tracy Bloom’s book!
On the day Jenny (mum of two) finds out she’s terminally ill, she also finds out her husband is shagging another woman in his office. Not her best day, that’s for sure. But instead of confronting her husband or even telling her family about the cancer, she decides to try and recapture the fun she used to have when she was in her twenties (because those were her best years, when she was the happiest) and with Maureen’s help (an elderly lady from the care home where Jenny works) she organises a 1996 themed party, with Spice Girls, bouncy castles, sumo suits, food and her old friends from back then – what follows are tons of misunderstandings, reunions, makeovers.
Jenny does everything that we forget that she has cancer and my heart really went to her. She was a great character, although to be honest at the beginning I wasn’t sure what to do with her and what to think about her. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t totally get why Jenny doesn’t want to tell her family about her cancer. Yes, the circumstances, finding out her husband is cheating on her, I understand, she was in shock, but I mean, you are terminally ill? You’d want to share this with your family, no? However, it changed very quickly and she had my full attention and sympathy. She was strong, incredibly strong, despite having to cope with unfaithful husband, illness, stubborn, moody, stroppy daughter and shy and anxious son with some problems. She was very independent and didn’t treat herself too seriously, and to be honest, after getting to know her very dismissive mother and always absent brother, I supported her in her decision of not telling anybody about the cancer. Even though the older, always knowing everything better characters are not my favourite ones, this time I loved Maureen, her friend from the care home, who took care of Jenny, even though she was the one to be taken care of.
I really, really liked the end. I was afraid that I’m going to end a snotty mess but Tracy Bloom has brilliantly resolved this situation. I don’t think the end was abrupt or too rushed. I don’t have to know what has happened to Jenny because well, we DO know what has happened to Jenny going forwards. I just didn’t have to read about it – I fell for Jenny and she felt like one of my friends and I think seeing her the way I though the book is going to end would break me apart. So huge brownie points for the author for doing what she did, for letting us to decide about our own goodbye to Jenny.
“The last Laugh” was an emotional read that will make you cry and laugh and maybe start to appreciate your life even more. It was about cherishing your life and those around you as well, but also about the fact that you should be cherished by your family and friends as well. It was bittersweet and very real. It was a touching story about relationships, marriage, being in love, friends and about making new memories. It was full of some incredibly poignant moments that hit me really hard. Let’s make some good memories, guys.