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What’s Worth Keeping is a deeply moving story of a family’s journey of finding acceptance, healing, peace, and the things that are worth keeping. In my opinion, this novel deserves nothing less than a five-star rating because it made me feel so much. Throughout the book’s entirety, I was invested, riveted to the pages, and completely immersed in the story and the characters.
Amy had been through so much. Her pain, suffering, and despair were palpable. Not only had she been dealing with her health and mortality, but her marriage and her relationship with her daughter were teetering on the edge. Amy’s turmoil leapt off the pages and into my heart. I felt all of the emotions right along with her, from her anger, hurt, and betrayal to her relief, determination, and comfort. I wanted her to be at peace, to live her life the way she wanted, and to seek the much-needed joy in the places, people, and things that brought her solace.
The story is told in alternating chapters between Amy, Paul, and their daughter Carly. This worked perfectly for this novel. It gave me an insight into each of the character’s feelings and how their lives were affected by certain events. While I was definitely a cheerleader for Amy, I can’t downplay the difficulties that her husband and daughter also faced. It took me a while to get behind Paul and his actions, but the chapters from his perspective really shone a light on his own despair. As far as Carly was concerned, she was a teenager who had witnessed her mother fighting for her life and she was beginning to question aspects of her own future. And, again, she was a teenager. She needed a little nudge in the right direction along with some words of wisdom and some time to reflect…and some time with Great-Aunt Rae. I think it’s fair to say that every family needs a Great-Aunt Rae in their lives.
What’s Worth Keeping made me feel a plethora of emotions. I’m not much of a crier, but I will admit that I spent a good amount of my time wiping the tears from my eyes while I was reading this book. There was simply no avoiding it. I finished the book and an entire box of tissues. When a book can elicit such a reaction from a reader, the author has done her job. While it was heartbreaking and gut wrenchingly painful, it wasn’t all sadness and despair, it was also brimming with growth, hope, and love.
Since finishing What’s Worth Keeping, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s definitely a story that will stick with me for a long time to come.