This Is your Life, Harriet Chance!

This Is your Life, Harriet Chance!

A Novel

eBook - 2015
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"Insightful, richly entertaining . . . Evison writes humanely and with good humor of his characters, who, like the rest of us, muddle through, too often without giving ourselves much of a break. A lovely, forgiving character study that's a pleasure to read." -- Kirkus Reviews , starred review

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.

Jonathan Evison has crafted a bighearted novel with an endearing heroine at the helm. 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.

"A terrific novel, funny and moving, wistful and wise. Jonathan Evison's writing crackles on the page." --Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

" This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is as sweet as it is inventive, profound as it is hilarious, unflinching as it is bighearted." --Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

" [An] irresistible, inventive novel full of important ideas about how we live our lives as parents, children, partners, and human beings . . . Evison is a ridiculously gifted storyteller." --Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins

"A generous and wise tale, told with Evison's trademark verve and charisma, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is a deeply felt and deeply comforting novel." --Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers

" This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! has all the wonderful snap and sizzle we've come to expect from Jonathan Evison's work, and as much heart as any novel I've read in recent years." --Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

"Both uplifting and melancholy, funny and thought-provoking, this entertaining read speaks directly to the importance of acceptance and healing." -- Booklist
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781616205362
1616205369
1616202610
9781616202613
Characteristics: 1 online resource (pages)

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l
lcraig368
Dec 07, 2016

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

h
haileyj
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.

b
beaches4evr
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.

b
brangwinn
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.

c
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.

g
gvlee
Jan 18, 2016

A rather tragic story, full of pathos, told ironically in the voice of a cheerful omniscient narrator. I found it sad.

b
bibliovore
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.

t
tavkaa
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.

c
cknightkc
Nov 22, 2015

For me, THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE, was an interesting novel, but the story was much darker than I had expected. I enjoyed the short chapters which kept the story moving and provided non-chronological "snapshots" of Harriet's life. At the beginning, Harriet seems a sympathetic albeit stereotypically doddering elderly lady (her habit of calling everyone "dear" was annoying), but little by little the real, flawed Harriet is revealed. Author Jonathan Evison skillfully proves that even the most ordinary of lives can be made up of secrets and complexities not discernible on the surface.

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1_Great_Book
Oct 13, 2015

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

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