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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral Paperback – January 31, 2006

3.5 out of 5 stars 335 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553382640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553382648
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (335 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ruth A. Caldwell on February 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Kris Radish wrote a great story. There were so many phrases that just jumped out at my heart, that I'd like to share a couple... "...I've had a world of loss dropped into my hands... but we're women and we deal with it and we do it in a way that somehow becomes a gift... Isn't it something that we can take something that is so painful that it makes you drop to the floor and turn it into a lesson that actually makes you glad it happened? That's what women do. We get on with it." AND "... women understand schedules. They understand sacrifice. They know what it feels like to never sleep, to always get up first... and they know that they all have many more miles to go, more hands to hold, more, so much more yet to give. And to receive."

You can read the professional reviews to determine the gist of this novel. I can only say, the message was thought provoking and comforting. I thought of my dearest friends and am grateful.

I would have given it five stars, however a couple of the characters (my age) were prone to expletives that I cannot relate to and thus I'm unable to share this book with my Mum. This was my first Kris Radish novel; won't be my last. She left a memorable impression.
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Format: Paperback
After reading the first third of this book, I recommended it to a friend, but by the time I finished the book I was more than ready for Annie's journey to be over. The premise of the book is great and the life lessons important, but they are repeated so many times, the reader feels like she has to duck.

The first half of the book is fun to read and a grand adventure, but I think I need to call my friend and modify my recommendtion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received this book from a sorority sister who's husband had recently died.
The book has been read, commented on, and passed around a group of us who
have been friends since college.
I did not read it from any "literary critic's standards" point of view.
I simply enjoyed the story, with both laughter and tears, and vowed to work
harder to keep those college friendships important in my life. There is no
doubt that my funeral will be very different from Annie's, but I hope my
friends and family who are still alive when I'm gone will remember me with
the love and fondness that Annie's friends had for her.

I also read two other books by K.Radish, and while I did enjoy the reading,
I did not like them nearly as much as "Annie..." I'm glad I read it before the others,
as I might not have been willing to put in the time reading it had I read
her other books first.

Every reader brings her (or his) own set of standards and interests to the
task of reading a book that has been recommended by others. If you did not
like this book, oh well. But each person who starts it will have to
decide for herself whether or not to complete the reading. I have often
found that my opinions differed from "critics," but if a good friend
recommends a book, I'm much more likely to enjoy it also.

Give it a try; make your own judgment.
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Format: Paperback
I, too, could just not finish this book. It felt like such a shame because the idea behind, and the title, and even the first pages had me really looking forward to the story. But three-quarters of the way though I'd just had enough. I found the writing style very ponderous. The switching tenses were confusing, the book is mostly written in the present tense which just doesn't work for this kind of writing.

My biggest criticism is of the cloying, sentimental prose that infused the whole piece (or, certainly, as far as I read). Moreover, as another reviewer mentioned, this author never gave her audience any reason to enjoy her characters. It is all "tell" and no "show". Everything is assumed. I never got any sense of why this Annie was so beloved, which is the entire premise for the book! And the five main characters were simply irritating. The author seemed to want her readers to fall in love with these women, to look to them as models to which they might mould their own lives. But there was no rational as to why these women were so fabulous, or why any self-respecting woman might consider their characters admirable or aspirational.

For me, this is the worst kind of "womens" writing: sentimental, superficial schlock. Ultimately it was just not worth the time or effort expended in reading. Don't bother.
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Format: Paperback
I agree completely with the last two reviewers. The theme of this book was so contrived. I would have dropped it after the first 50 pages had I not been reading it for my book group. It was sheer torture for me and I found myself skipping large passages of "Annie adoration" just to finish it. I thought there would be a little more humor considering the cover and the description on the back. I had a hard time keeping track of who knew whom, where and when. I ended up not caring very much about any of the characters, including Annie herself. Almost none of the situations seemed realistic, the first example beginning with the women ending up standing on the very ledge where Annie had stood years earlier, after walking many miles into nowhere and ending with the stranger and his son who Annie's book had helped many years ago and he setting up a virtual 24 hour "life of the rich and famous" event for them.

My feeling is "so many books, so little time" and this one sure was a waste of my time.
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