The Living End

by Lisa Samson

Another well-written story from Lisa Samson, this book chronicles the quest of Pearly Laurel, a recently-widowed woman who grieves through the process of carrying out her husband’s “wishlist.”

I usually find Samson’s writing so captivating that I have difficulty putting her stories down, but this book didn’t pull me in like her others have. Perhaps it was the melancholy tone; or the fact that I found it difficult to relate to the suicidal Pearly, (though I did find myself liking her and hoping she would somehow find the courage to move on). The Living End does an admirable job depicting the complex process of grief, but I felt less satisfied with Samson’s approach to Pearly’s eventual conversion. Somehow her acceptance of the faith just seemed to unfold too conveniently in the plot, especially for a character who’d done so much resisting in the past. I couldn’t quite understand what helped Pearly finally make the leap to faith. But then again, I suppose most conversions are an organic experience that can’t be easily explained.

As usual, Samson’s writing offers up a well-written slice of life. And though I didn’t find this particular book to be my favorite flavor, I’m sure I’ll be returning to Samson’s table for her next new dish.

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