Delia is dying of Cancer. She is also a very popular advice columnist and author on topics such as The Household Guide to the Kitchen, and other like titled books. Her style is that of some help and a bit of witty comments that keep her faithful followers coming back for more.
Since she has finally decided that she doesn’t want to continue with the chemotherapy, she has decided to organize her life and that of her family. So, she sets off on a journey that will take her to a place she never thought that she would be able to revisit again. Her husband thinks she is crazy for wanting to do this in her deteriorating condition by herself.
A small town where her and her husband met all those years ago, when she was 17 and pregnant, scared to be doing this all on her own. There is one person that she needs to find, but it is more of a task then she thought it would be, among the many memories and hard times that happened back then.
When everything does finally fall into place, she feels free enough to be able to finally relax and hopefully get her last Household Guide done before she actually dies. And making lists for her daughter’s weddings that she won’t be here for, and telling her husband who to marry after she is gone – which really makes him angry since she isn’t even gone yet.
When I was reading this poignant, poetic, introspective novel about life and living, I couldn’t help but think what would I do if I had the chance or be in the same predicament that she is in herself. Would I go back and soothe old wounds with friends, family and situations in general? Would I be as calm as she is when being faced with insurmountable memories of what happened in the past and be able to face them with the kind of dignity that she does. Sure, she has fallen from time to time, and made mistakes herself, but she is so strong and faces it with so much courage along with the love of her children and husband.
This book was long listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2009.