The stunning debut for fans of Celia Imrie and Dawn French.
Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.
At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.
But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money…
What does TWG think?
I’ll be honest, this book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I was expecting a storyline that was centred around the ‘typical’ bucket list and somewhat predictable. However, what I actually got was a novel that had me in absolute hysterics one moment, to then finding myself ugly crying the next, whilst also having some incredibly bold and unique characters thrown in for good measure. So you see, sometimes judging a book before you have even read it, can be a good thing. After all, we all like surprises, especially when they’re good ones like this!
Dee, Rose and Fleur were expecting a bog standard will reading. You know, letters from the deceased read out, inheritance (if any) spoken about and other wishes discussed, ending with a signature from all those involved. Snigger, that was NOT what they got. There was a condition attached to any inheritance money, as laid out via the deceased’s wishes. All three ladies have one thing in common; they have all lost their mother. The deceased, their mother, has one thing which trumps her daughters ten times over; she was their mother and she knew them better than they even knew themselves. Therefore, mummy knows best, right? Especially as the three sisters haven’t exactly been bosom buddies over the years…
Iris Parker is a L-E-G-E-N-D! Her last wish to her daughters via her will, had me in absolute hysterics! I totally envisaged all three daughters faces at the news. In any other circumstance; such as the sisters getting on really well, it probably wouldn’t have come as such a shock to them, nor would I have found it as funny. But, because they couldn’t stand the sight of one another and one of them really needed the money, Iris Parkers last wish was an absolute belter.
Obviously, I forged my own opinion of Fleur, Dee and Rose, I always do. At first, I disliked Rose with a passion. Her stuck up nature and arrogance riled me up the wrong way, I’m sorry to say. I adored Dee as I found her personality incredibly warm and soft natured, even though she was incredibly bouncy and energetic. As for Fleur, I kept changing my mind with her. One moment I liked her ‘company’ and found her humour to be quite similar to mine, yet the next moment I struggled to bond with her as she came across a bit self-centred and far to free and easy about a lot of things.
The weekends the sisters had to endure were a mixture of events, some being funny and some being rather thought-provoking. Despite the weekends being their mother’s ‘bucket list’, the three women couldn’t seem to open their eyes to what was directly in front of them, nor could they see further than the money. However, watching the sisters go on their journey of self discovery by reminiscing and trying new things, was such an emotional one. Even though the ladies refused to see further than the inheritance money at first; watching them get to the point where things started to make sense was an ingenious idea on the authors part. Without even realising it, their mother had given them an incredibly powerful gift which, unfortunately, they seem to realise far too late.
Because most of Cathy Hopkins’ book was light-hearted and turned the negative circumstances into positive ones, when the dynamic of the storyline completely changed my hand flew to my mouth and my eyes began to sting. You know what I mean, yeah? Think of this; you’re reading a storyline that seems to make you laugh more often than none, has such an important underlying message to it yet all of a sudden….WHAM. Every single thing you thought you understood, you no longer understand and it’s made you far more emotional than you thought it would. Does that make sense now? Good, because that’s what happened to me when I read the last third or so of the novel.
The last third of Cathy Hopkins’ novel also gave her characters a well needed kick up the backside, too! I hadn’t realised how invested in the storyline and the characters lives I was, until that moment. Dee, Fleur and Rose’s relationship finally decided to mosey on down the path that their mother clearly knew that it would, Iris just had no idea under what circumstances/weekend or event, that that would happen.
I bawled like a baby, no lie. I was absolutely devastated by the turn of events! I couldn’t keep a lid on it, AT ALL. Yes folks, it surprised me too. It was as though I was feeling their emotion first hand.
I LOVED ‘The Kicking the Bucket List’ from the moment I read about Iris’ last wish, right until the very end of the book. The attention to detail in regards to the sisters personalities, was unbelievable, I have never read a character like those before. Incredible realistic and more than just words on a piece of paper. Those ladies stole my heart (yes, even Rose), and I took their hidden message. There were highs and there were lows. Good times and bad times. Funny moments and absolutely hilarious, sexy snorting moments. And you know what? It was absolutely brilliant. Cathy Hopkins has written such a clever and unique storyline, putting a twist on the usual ‘bucket list’ by making it her own.
Don’t be like Dee, Rose and Fleur and leave things too late. Don’t break a close relationship thinking that you have all the time in the world to fix it again. You don’t. Go and do those things that you want to do before you end up being in Iris’ position. Although to be honest, Iris is an absolute genius. So is Cathy Hopkins, especially as she has written her own ‘Ten Steps to Happiness’ at the very end. Definitely worth a read.
Completely unexpected and surreal, Cathy Hopkins novel is definitely one of my most favourite books of 2017 so far.
Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollins.