Book #23

The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer

From the day she watched her kindergarten teacher drop dead during a dramatic telling of Peter Rabbit, Clover Brooks has felt a stronger connection with the dying than she has with the living. After the beloved grandfather who raised her dies alone while she is traveling, Clover becomes a death doula in New York City, dedicating her life to ushering people peacefully through their end-of-life process.

Clover spends so much time with the dying that she has no life of her own, until the final wishes of a feisty old woman send Clover on a trip across the country to uncover a forgotten love story––and perhaps, her own happy ending. As she finds herself struggling to navigate the uncharted roads of romance and friendship, Clover is forced to examine what she really wants, and whether she’ll have the courage to go after it.

I really thought I would love this.

Clover is a death doula working in New York City. Hers is an entirely non-medical service - she sits with people in their final days, offer them comfort, accepts their confessions, and records their regrets. I thought this could be quite upsetting to read, but actually we’re not given much insight into Clover’s career before we’re catapulted into a vapid romance with a guy she meets at a death cafe.

Although Brammer seems to have taken care to characterise Clover, there is nothing redeeming about her, and she mostly seems robotic and emotionless, particularly given her job and her reasons for doing it. I felt ashamed that I felt nothing for her, and couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for the events unfolding in front of her.

Perhaps, like people, some books just don’t come into your life at the right time.