Monday, 23 July 2018

Book Review - The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom

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Title: The Last Laugh
Author: Tracy Bloom
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 23rd February 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, she had enough on her plate already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago. 

And now this. Enough is enough! Jenny vows to keep both revelations a secret. She takes her life into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime? 

The Last Laugh is both hilarious and heartbreaking, a book about how to find happiness and live your life as though every day is your last.

I had been putting off reading this book for a while as I was conflicted, the blurb sounds as though the book could be depressing, and yet I know the author tends to write fabulously funny books, and I just couldn't work out how the two would marry up. 

Having now finished this book I think it was completely fabulous, and although it is dealing with a terminal illness diagnosis, Jenny is determined to live at least some of the rest of her life on her own terms and decides to recreate 1996 the year she was the happiest. 

It is also the year she met her husband and father of her kids,  who she discovers has been cheating on her the same day she gets her diagnosi

Jenny though is a remarkably strong woman, and doesn't crumble under any of this but instead puts on a brave face and just carries on with life - only confiding in an older lady at the care home she works at. 

I loved the opening few chapters where Jenny was a rep in 96 and having the time of her life and it brought back memories of a few nights out while I was a kids rep.  Other moments that made me smile during the book were mentions of The Muppets (I was reading this going to and from watching Muppets take the O2, so anything Muppet was a sign to me of great enjoyment),  the many Spice Girl and Euro 96 references, fabulous scene involving sumo suits and many more besides. 

This could so easily have turned into an overly emotional book, but instead put a different spin on the story, and clearly Jenny really was having the Last Laugh for as long as she could.   This was so unexpected, and so much better than I had perhaps wrongly been anticipating. 

I am so happy I finally had a chance to read it, and it just shows that I really do need to have more faith in the authors that I love reading, even when the blurb  has me unconvinced. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and  voluntarily. 

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