This Is your Life, Harriet Chance!

This Is your Life, Harriet Chance!

A Novel

Book - 2015 | First edition.
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"Jonathan Evison is a ridiculously gifted storyteller: racing, breathless, and vibrant with his prose, hungry for personal truths, and clearly in love with the world around us all. That compassion and those writerly charms are deeply felt in This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, an irresistible, inventive novel full of important ideas about how we live our lives as parents, children, partners, and human beings." --Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins

With Bernard, her husband of fifty-five years, now in the grave, seventy-eight-year-old Harriet Chance impulsively sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise that her late husband had planned. But what she hoped would be a voyage leading to a new lease on life becomes a surprising and revelatory journey into Harriet's past.

There, amid the overwhelming buffets and the incessant lounge singers, between the imagined appearances of her late husband and the very real arrival of her estranged daughter midway through the cruise, Harriet is forced to take a long look back, confronting the truth about pivotal events that changed the course of her life. And in the process she discovers that she's been living the better part of that life under entirely false assumptions.

In This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! Jonathan Evison has crafted a bighearted novel with an endearing heroine at the helm. Through Harriet, he paints a bittersweet portrait of a postmodern everywoman, her story told with great warmth, humanity, and humor. Part dysfunctional love story, part poignant exploration of the mother-daughter relationship, nothing is what it seems in this tale of acceptance, reexamination, and forgiveness.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781616202613
Characteristics: 296 pages


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Jul 25, 2018

A dark -with occasional sparks of humor- look at the compromises women make in their lives, trading off career for family, giving up personal dreams for others expectations and a me-too moment. Narrative structure is clever, jumping back & forth in time. My major gripe is with the audio book: place name pronunciation. The book is set in the Pac NW. The narrator manages to pronounce ‘Juneau” & ‘Tlingit” correctly (although her pronunciation of the name of the cruise ship “Zuiderdam” is suspect) but “Sequim’, the setting of at least 50% of the book’s action, a town whose name is repeated at least a dozen times, is consistently mispronounced as “See-kwim.” The author (who is from WA), a simple Google search or checking a gazetteer would have given them correct info. But apparently, no one bothered. Thst’s just sloppiness on the production team’s part.

May 14, 2018

If you want to be suicidally depressed, this is the book for you. Harriet's husband, best friend, and children betray her. These are not small betrayals; they are the sort that would cause any person to believe her entire life was a fraud.

Dec 07, 2016

Such a sad story. Poor Harriet was betrayed by so many people.

Nov 19, 2016

This was a sad story on so many levels. First, Harriet was cheated on by her husband and now her children are after her money - all of this she discovers while on an Alaskan cruise. It was depressing.

Aug 26, 2016

I liked this book!!! The author states it best in his line "Life is not linear". How very true! That's the story in a nutshell. I am 65 and quite active---I find myself reflecting on my life's decisions, mistakes, regrets, blessings.....AND-- looking forward to adventures I still want to have. Reading the author's "acknowledgements" at the end also gave the book perspective. Some people may want to read those first. I found this story to be easy reading and enjoyable.

May 16, 2016

I finished this book only because I kept thinking Harriet's life had to get better. Such a sad story. Somehow the review I read before choosing this book made her cruise experience seem humorous. I read the book while on a Holland America cruise and am having a much happier time than she did.

coroboreefarm May 07, 2016

An elderly widow embarks on an Alaskan voyage to scatter her husband's ashes. This sometimes humorous, sometimes sad book chronicles the life of Harriet Chance through flashbacks and present day narrative. Told in part by an unknown narrator, this is a charming tale of life's triumphs and failures, and ultimately the power of redemption. Life held together "..inexplicably, miraculously, really, by memory and association."
Quirky and charming, this little book will tug at your heartstrings.

JCLHelenH Apr 06, 2016

I didn't love it as much as "The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving". But I really loved TRFG, so that makes Harriet still a pretty good read.

Jan 15, 2016

Each of Jonathan Evison's novels has been very different, but his talent shines through in all. I thoroughly enjoyed this story about a woman forced to look into her past and reconcile the choices she made then with her life in the present.

Dec 07, 2015

It dragged in places because the author was too interested in the main character's past and felt the need to describe everything. At first I was a little annoyed with the back and forth, but then the pieces started to fall in place, and it was interesting to see what the character was doing when it was all going down. The main character was appealing in that entering into my very own senior years. The out of body scenes were comic. Children always under estimate their senior parents.

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Oct 13, 2015

1_Great_Book thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 50 and 99


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