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The Last Three Words Paperback – November 15, 2013
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About the Author
Ashley is a thirty-something perpetual teenager. She (slowly) writes young adult fiction that pulls no punches and rarely conforms to the unspoken rules. Home is upstate South Carolina, where Ashley lives with her daughter, working for a living and striving to better herself and her craft.
Top customer reviews
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The Last Three Words is a book that makes you think, and remember little parts even days later. It haunts you. Nicely done, Ashley.
I would heartedly recommend this book.
What surprised me the most about this book was how Christian’s emotional attachment to Maye pops up in the most unexpected places. This is not a particularly sentimental novel, yet from the very first scene there are understated cues pointing to a bond that even death can’t sever. Sometimes grief amplifies deeply seated personality traits, and the author does a great job quietly showing how everyone who loved Maye reacts to her death in emotionally healthy and unhealthy manners.
The narrative switches among three different first-person perspectives and occasionally jumps from the present to the past. While these techniques provide important background information, there were times when I found all of the shifts jarring. They happened so often that they sometimes slowed down the progression of the plot. In addition, the voices of the three characters who describe what has or is happening to them sound so similar that had they not been labelled I would have had a difficult time telling them apart.
For a story of this length restricting the point of view to one – or, at most, two – narrators would have freed up more space to explore what happens to Maye and how her family and friends honor her memory and learn to express their grief. The concept is intriguing, but as it was written I spent too much time adjusting to new speakers for a piece of this length.
The paranormal elements in this tale are subtle and well-suited to the storyline. They play their role in what happens without ever overpowering the often fragile connections between the characters. By far the most compelling scenes occur when the ordinary world brushes against forces it doesn’t necessarily understand.
The Last Three Words is a stunningly accurate portrayal of grief. I’d recommend this book to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one or who would like to step inside the head of someone who is grieving in order to better understand why they sometimes act in seemingly illogical ways.
Originally posted at Long and Short Reviews
Maye is thoughtful, kind, and responsible. She takes care of Christian, the poor boy whose mother could never be bothered with him. Christian tells of his love for Maye, about struggling through a copy of The Little Prince just to have something to talk to her about. His love for her makes him want to be a better person. Little sister Rowe, the rebel, has built up walls, toughened by the loss of her mother, and her father’s inablity to cope with life. Their narratives interweave to tell their story which feels realistic--the dialogue especially felt real to me--with descriptive touches that drew me into this short novel which I read in one sitting. I felt the author did a good job of developing each of the characters so that as the reader, I felt I knew them.
I’d recommend The Last Three Words, especially for fans of young adult fiction.
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Heckman is an observant and thoughtful writer who manages to get into the heads of her three characters and makes us feel for them intensely. Her mastery of detail really brings the story and the characters to life. This a character- and emotion-driven story, rather than an adventure, but it moves at a good pace and finally comes together into an ending that is almost heartbreakingly hopeful.
I look forward to reading a full-length novel by this author one day.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
I love how the novella focuses on the three characters and their tumultous inner lives and ignores all the rest. How it strips away layer after layer of the facades they put up, and brings to the forefront their ugly, painful, wretched emotions. The ending was perfect. As was everything that preceded it.