Friday, August 14, 2015

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

The year is 1960, and JFK has just been elected. With the election of such a young president, the entire country has the hope that with John and Jackie Kennedy in the White House, there will be change. Nobody hopes for this more than, Claire, a suburban house wife and mother of one daughter, with another baby on the way. Claire has everything she could want; a house in the suburbs, a loving husband, a family, and a group of friends. Despite having everything she could want, Claire is unhappy. She doesn't love her husband and feels stifled by her life. When Claire and her husband go away for his mother's birthday, Claire's life changes.

It's 1919 in San Francisco, where Vivien is looking for her long lost love who seems to have vanished during the terrible San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Refusing to believe that her lover, David, was killed in the earthquake, Vivien spends time looking for David. Vivien, who is an obituary writer, helps people deal with grief, yet can't come to terms with her own grief or the thought that David is dead. When death hits Vivien close to home, she realizes life is too short to spend life wondering what if.

Ann Hood does a wonderful job weaving together the two stories of Claire and Vivien in The Obituary Writer. For both women, who grieve different things, it's easy to see how their stories just might inspire one another. The Obituary Writer is a beautiful glimpse of two really interesting historical time periods. Hood's writing style makes this a quick, fun read while making you empathize with both Claire and Vivien.