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Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral Paperback – January 31, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Radish's latest overwrought book (after Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn) tracks five strangers– turned–soul mates over the course of the titular funeral, posthumously organized by their friend Annie, who died from ovarian cancer at age 56. A package arrives at Katherine Givens's front door and in it are the ashes of her free-spirited, altruistic childhood friend, along with instructions for a procession that will take Annie's closest friends on a cross country trip from Sonoma, Calif., to Manhattan, sprinkling her remains as they go. Just nine days later, Annie's former university colleague Jill, women's crisis savior Laura, cantankerous neighbor Rebecca and her hospice aide Marie join Katherine on the journey during which they learn their eccentric friend's deepest secrets and share many of their own. Most importantly, these unorthodox urnbearers understand the greatness Annie saw in them and attain the courage to act on it. Windswept melodrama marks Radish's prose (e.g. "these moments were the ones Marie needed to keep the tears and gashes in her own soul from washing her out to sea"), but that will not deter readers who relish the idea of women forming bonds when their mettle is tested and finding power and self-actualization in grief, sharing and love. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Annie passes away at the youthful age of 56, leaving her high-school friend, Katherine, responsible for organizing her traveling funeral. Katherine receives a UPS package with Annie's favorite pair of red high-top sneakers, which contain her ashes, and instructions to contact four other women who played pivotal roles in her life. All of the women either have met or heard of each other through Annie, and all agree to fulfill her request that they fly across the country together and disperse her ashes at places meaningful to Annie. The women encounter beauty in unlikely places and people who either knew Annie or were somehow touched by her, causing the women to miss Annie all the more and reevaluate themselves and their missed opportunities. The funeral party turns into a true celebration of the deceased and her wonderful life. Once again, Radish celebrates women's inimitable friendships in an ode to sisterhood that will make her many fans rejoice. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I paid $0.01 used on amazon, and I way overpaid. I plan to throw the book in the trash, as I don't want some poor soul to stumble across it and read it. Their time would be better used staring at a blank wall for a few hours.
Annie Freeman's friend receives an unexpected box. It is her best friend's ashes encased in the red tennis shoes Annie treasured. Annie gives detailed instructions for calling in all her friends to travel across the country, and, remarkably they all do except her hospice newest friend who feels compelled to remain with her patients for their final journey, but she stays in touch via cell phone, and joins the others toward the end of the journey.
Annie's friends are able to fill in mysterious gaps in her life traveling to the places important to Annie in her life. They are steeped in unusual forms of Nature and colorful characters Annie's knew. They make touching connections with strangers being broken open by her loss and being together. As is true with the death of someone precious to us, they are each transformed--by taking off work and daily routines, coming together, traveling together, talking and drinking all night. As an old RN and therapist, I was less enchanted with the alcohol intake night after night for health and mental health reasons. But, in my 20s I would have loved that part, too. I was also disappointed in the lack of racial diversity of the book, Annie living and dying in Northern California as she did, but the class diversity and age differences were interesting and unusual. An old woman's blooming sexuality was downright radical! (Note: yes, we do. And it's not icky. Age is kind of cool.)
This is a worthwhile book for women who want to read a next-generation feminist novel and tolerate the lack of racial diversity for the diversities mentioned before. I laughed and cried. Couldn't ask much more of a book. Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral