Reading Minus Me by Mameve Medwed was a fun way to beat my January pandemic doldrums. I’m recommending it for anyone wanting something a little fluffy, but also substantive with interesting characters and real-feeling relationships.
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Her life turned upside down by a grim diagnosis, a small-town Maine woman sets about writing a “How To” life manual for her handsome yet hapless husband.
Annie and her devoted but comically incompetent childhood sweetheart Sam are the owners and operators of Annie’s, a gourmet sandwich shop, home to the legendary Paul Bunyan Special Sandwich–their “nutritionally challenged continual source of income and marital harmony and local fame.”
But into their mostly charmed marriage comes the scary medical diagnosis for Annie–and the overwhelming challenge of finding a way to help Sam go on without her. Annie decides to leave Sam step-by-step instructions for a future without her, and considers her own replacement in his heart and their bed.Her best-laid plans grind to a halt with the unexpected appearance of Ursula, Annie’s Manhattan diva of a mother, who brings her own brand of chaos and disruption into their lives.
Minus Me is a poignant and hilarious novel about the bonds of marriage, the burdens of maternal love, and the courage to face mortality.
Like I said above, this was a nice, quick read to beat my January pandemic doldrums. I have to admit I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book better than the last 1/3, but I’d still say it was an overall pleasurable read.
In the beginning, we learn of Annie’s diagnosis, and as anyone would with a scary diagnosis, she starts thinking about how she wants the rest of her life (and after she’s gone) to look. Her husband, Sam, is sort of bumbling, but I liked that he was also strong at some points in the book. So, Annie writes a sort of manual for him that explains how to go on without her.
However, while all of this is going on, Annie is keeping her diagnosis to herself. At first she was just waiting until a next appointment, but when her rich and famous mother finds out the diagnosis (before Sam does) and takes her to New York to visit expert doctors, she STILL keeps it all to herself. When she gets back, she “attempts” to tell Sam, but can’t because he’s angry and thinks she had an affair in the city.
This is where the book kind of lost me. Before this part, I would have rated it 4 stars. Then, Sam gets super angry with Annie, and all she has to do is say “I thought I had cancer” and the truth would fix it. But it seriously goes a week+ with her being “unable” to tell Sam the truth. This was just totally unimaginable for me. These two have this supposedly great relationship, but then she doesn’t know how to just blurt it out?
SO, I gave Minus Me 3 stars in the end. There were really some good, complex feelings though and I enjoyed many of the characters, so overall I’m glad I read it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a lighter read with a unique plot.