July 22, 2006
Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral
Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish
Finished on 7/12/06
Rating: C (3/10 Ho-hum)
I had pretty low expectations for this novel, as I didn’t care much for Radish’s first book, The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. That, combined with a several negative reviews at Amazon (and my concern that reading about someone’s funeral still might be too painful), made me set it aside for several months after receiving it from my sister-in-law. Who knows why I finally picked it up when I did? I was pleasantly surprised that I fell right into the narrative in spite of the silly opening scene, but I was even more surprised that I didn’t throw the book against the living room wall before I managed to finish. The premise of the story was intriguing and captured my curiosity. I was anxious to see how the five women (many of whom didn’t know one another until they gathered at the first airport) would honor their mutual friend’s request to travel together, visiting specific locations laid out in her final request, scattering her ashes at each destination. I was also interested to see how each character would deal with the grief involved in losing a close friend.
Annie, who died of ovarian cancer, had the entire trip planned out in advance, providing for airline tickets, hotel accommodations, meals, spending money and any other extravagant expense that the women might incur along the way. They were to travel to Sonoma, Albuquerque, the Florida Keys, New York City, the North Shore of Lake Superior, and finally (this one really caught my interest) a small island near Seattle.
While I like the idea of this non-traditional funeral and was curious to see how Annie’s closest friends would get along as a group, I was very disappointed in the author’s melodramatic and repetitious writing style. The characters were indistinguishable from one another (same complaint I had with The Elegant Gathering of White Snows) and there were far too many magical moments that felt too “over the top” for this reader. I also got very irritated with the use of Annie’s full name instead of just Annie. Why in the world would the author continue to refer to her character as Annie G. Freeman??
Suffice it to say, this isn’t a keeper and you won’t find me writing any more reviews of this author’s works. Life is too short to read such ridiculous and unpolished writing.