‘For fans of Nora Ephron and Sorrow & Bliss, We All Want Impossible Things is
a deeply moving, jubilant celebration of life and friendship
at its imperfect, radiant, and irreverent best.‘
[ About We All Want Impossible Things ]
Who knows you better than your best friend? Who knows your secrets, your fears, your desires, your strange imperfect self? Edi and Ash have been best friends for over forty years. Since childhood they have seen each other through life’s milestones: stealing vodka from their parents, the Madonna phase, REM concerts, unexpected wakes, marriages, infertility, children. As Ash notes, ‘Edi’s memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.’
So when Edi is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Ash’s world reshapes around the rhythms of Edi’s care, from chipped ice and watermelon cubes to music therapy; from snack smuggling to impromptu excursions into the frozen winter night. Because life is about squeezing the joy out of every moment, about building a powerhouse of memories, about learning when to hold on, and when to let go.
[ My Review ]
We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman was published January 12th with Doubleday Books and is described as ‘a warm, funny and deeply moving story of friendship at its imperfect and radiant best‘. I was very lucky to be sent a copy of this book, one that I can, in all honesty say, had a huge impact on me.
This is the story of two childhood friends, Edi and Ash, whose relationship has seen many peaks and troughs over the years. No matter what juncture either was at in life, they have always been at each other’s side, always there to support and pick up the pieces. Now it is Ash’s turn to support Edi through her final journey, following a diagnosis of terminal cancer.
We will all eventually die and many of us have been there with someone when they have passed on. That feeling of helplessness never leaves and the memory of that moment is forever etched in your mind. Catherine Newman has beautifully depicted this very special time between Edi and Ash, as they try to come to terms with Edi’s diagnosis. Ash never flinches from her responsibilities and, although dealing with her own personal issues, she is always there for Edi.
The hospice is the primary setting for this tale with Ash spending her days split between there and her home, where she lives with her daughter Belle. Honey, her husband, has left the family home but the relationship between Ash and Honey remains intact. Honey is the one person, aside from Edi, who really gets Ash and all her idiosyncrasies. Ash has a witty turn of phrase, with a sense of humour that has aided her through many challenging times. She is a strong character on the surface but underneath it all, Ash is crazily paddling to stay afloat and to keep up the appearance of someone in control of their life.
As the chapters progress, we get insights into the relationship over the years between Ash and Edi and also we get a glimpse of the journey through life that each took. Catherine Newman excels at writing about the beauty of friendship creating gorgeous and sometimes, heart-wrenching, scenes that just come alive as the pages turn.
We All Want Impossible Things is quite simply an exquisite book that many of you will relate to. If you are close to anyone in any capacity, it will find a place deep in your soul. Littered with a smart, sassy and warm-hearted dialogue, Catherine Newman has achieved something very special. Admittedly I was a mess, but I also felt inspired. If you ever needed validation to live and enjoy your life as best you possibly can, this book is it. Poignant, sublime, emotionally charged We All Want Impossible Things is a very unique and unforgettable read, one I will return to again and one I highly recommend to every single one of you.
[ Bio ]
Catherine Newman is the author of the memoirs Catastrophic Happiness and Waiting for Birdy, and the bestselling children’s book How to be a Person. She writes the etiquette column for Real Simple magazine, and is a regular contributor to the New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Parents magazine, and many other publications. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her family.
Twitter ~ @CatheriNewman
Heard so many people recommending this book. It sounds so emotional!
Joanne it is very emotional but also full of wit & warmth. A beautiful reading experience x