Book Review: The Single Dad’s handbook by Lynsey James

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 5/5


Welcome to The Single Dad’s Handbook, your comprehensive guide to life without me when I pop my clogs!

‘I laughed, I cried, and I swooned a bit too (both over Evan and the beautiful Edinburgh setting). Gorgeous.’ Lia Louis
It’s been two years since cancer stole Evan Harper’s wife, Claire, from their lives. Although Evan’s doing everything he can to be Super Dad for his five year old, Violet, he can’t seem to get anything right. So he turns to the one person who gives the best advice – Claire herself.

Before she died she wrote him a book of letters to see him through the ups and downs of raising their daughter and her words soon help him see that there is life after loss – and maybe even a second shot at love – when you find the courage to start living again…

It’s time to start living again, Evan. Your new forever starts right here. Love always, Claire

An emotional, uplifting story of life, loss and love perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern and S.D. Robertson.

My verdict: A lovely little new take on PS I Love you. A story about grief, cancer and reclaiming life and finding love again. James’ writing is heartwarming and at times a tearjerker whilst at the same time being uplifting. I loved Violet and Evan and I had found a kindred spirit in Claire in regards to her dry sense of humour and attitude towards her terminal illness. Whilst this book also deals with being a single parent it also touches on Depression, bullying, internet dating and pushing out of your comfort zone. The novel reminded me of Nicholas Sparks Two by Two and The last Song in regards to looking in depth at the father/ daughter relationship. But it is also testament that even though we all have a soulmate, we can indeed get a second chance at love. Overall, a very witty and uplifting read that I soaked up in three hours.

I also give Lynsey James props for including and giving Evan a rather eccentric interest of ghosts walks and legends of Glasgow which I found to be subtle double entendre about death. I applaud Lynsey for her no nonsense approach surrounding the taboo of death and putting a spin on something so unfortunate. I also loved the element of epistolary to break up the narrative where we saw hypothetical situations from Claire’s point of view and how she would deal with them.

In regards to Claire‘s letters and eventually Evan’s it reinforces my belief that writing is definitely cathartic (I found Clares advice given to be very helpful and I will try and incorporate in my everyday life. Even though her character is not physically in the narrative we get a sense of her personality from her letters and from Evans flashbacks which led me to the conclusion that she is almost like a life coach from beyond the grave. But in all serious thank you to Lynsey for tackling a subject i’m not just showing the lows of grief and cancer treatment itself but the highs that come afterwards when Evan finally lets go and reclaim his lifei’m not just showing the lows of grief and cancer treatment itself but the highs that come afterwards when Evan finally lets go and reclaim his life.

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