Welcome to my second attempt to try and get this review posted. I’m so sorry to the publisher, author, and anyone who had seen the banner looking out for this to be posted today – I spent the day waiting for the prompt it had been published, had a nap, and then found it was 9pm and the whole thing had vanished.
Maybe it used a lift.
If you don’t get that reference yet, it’s because you’re yet to read the brilliant Daisy Cooper’s Rules For Living. This easily goes straight in as one of my top books of the year, but maybe have a supply of tissues ready for when you dig in to it.
Daisy Cooper is dead. Except, she’s not really supposed to be. So when she turns up in Death’s office, and he starts to run through the file, there’s been a mistake, and Admin can’t explain it. To cover up his (newest) awkward mistake, Death claims Daisy as his newest assistant, and that’s how this tale of grief, love, and learning how to both live, and die, begins.
Tamsin Kelly has written entirely realistic characters and created a believable world in unbelievability, all of which captures you before you even realise that you’ve started reading. It’s brilliantly witty and painfully emotional, often at the same time, with the beautiful formation of relationships all while others change in the wake of death. We’ve all been touched by grief, and thought about the words we would say to those left behind, but if you actually had that chance, how would you handle it? How would they? This book takes this concept, and opens it wide open, with all the expected and unexpected that comes with that. It doesn’t shy away from the difficulties of grief, but blows them wide open, putting into print the formation of pain that goes with love, of anger that goes with pain, and of the slow healing of wounds.
I also want to give huge amounts of credit to the author for the way she handles talk of depression and suicidal behaviours. While I would normally say that it might be triggering, in fact I think because of the way it was handled it was almost comforting both as someone who has been depressed and also someone who loves people who are depressed. The representation of depression was accurate enough to make me cry and curl up in a blanket for a bit, if I’m honest, in both the relief of accuracy, and the difficulty of it as a reality.
Death as a character was as loveable as Daisy, and watching the two awkwardly find their place with each other after the slight accident of Daisy ending up in his office is just the most unique, and beautiful, tale. The little snippets we get into his mind at the beginning of chapters is just lovely, and you find yourself full of empathy for a person who, maybe not human, slowly lets you in, and his barriers down.
Thank you again to Orion Books for this wonderful, wonderful book, and to the author for bringing Daisy – and Death – into my life. I certainly won’t forget them any time soon.