The cover of Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream sold me before I knew what the book was about. That's a woman teetering on the edge. Was she pushed to the brink by someone or something? Did she commit a crime? Did she just lose a family member? Is she distraught over this crappy economy? There are so many reasons why this woman is under distress. The potential answers to those questions drew me in. But outside sources have nothing to do with Clementine Pritchard's problems. The war inside her head leads Clementine to believe that suicide is the answer.
We meet Clementine 30 days before her planned suicide. She has stopped taking all the medication to treat her manic depression. She feels free and more clear-headed than ever before. She never felt like herself on the medication. But why is suicide the answer? If she feels better without the medication, why not try that route for a while? Clementine doesn't believe those moments of clarity will last. The low moments outweigh the highs, and she is tired of trying to fix her brain.
She's a successful artist, but even that isn't satisfying for Clementine. She fired her assistant Jenny and is content to let her career fall by the wayside. Her ex-husband Richard still cares about her, but Clementine seems tired of relying on him to clean up her messes. She lets the people that care about her believe she is dying of cancer. The truth is too hard to confess because someone might talk Clementine out of suicide. Clementine only feels comfortable spilling her secrets to her cat Chuckles. The cat is her best friend. Clementine is sure Chuckles is the only one who will miss her. She's done being a burden to everyone else.
Her life is in disarray, but Clementine is sure suicide will be much easier. Her plan is neat and orderly. She gets all her important papers together, sells her furniture, and puts Clementine up for adoption. She trots down to Mexico with Richard in tow to buy drugs to aid her plan. Richard is clueless to her real motives, but can't resist helping Clementine. They will always be tied.
Clementine is so witty and intelligent, it's sad that she thinks suicide is the answer. She can match wits with everybody, even a fellow artist she believes is copying her work. She can also be very blunt. She wonders how good her shrink can be if he's willing to have sex with her (Clementine was also quick to point out how bad the sex was). Not everything is upbeat, Clementine goes through some extreme highs and lows in the 30 days prior to her planned suicide. She tries to find her estranged father, and when they do find each other the experience isn't what Clementine hoped for. The reunion leads to a long-buried secret. The ending, which feels a little rushed, is open to interpretation. Clementine's head is so full of noise, she can't see how much she is loved and will be missed. Suicide is nothing to joke about, but Ream finds a way to make her
character engaging and funny. What could easily be a morbid book, is rather witty and worth reading.
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) as part of tour with TLC Book Tours.
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