The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go

· Sold by Simon and Schuster
4 reviews

About this ebook

Three generations. Seven days. One big secret. The author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake unfolds a mother-daughter story told by three women whose time to reckon with a life-altering secret is running out.

Gina Zoberski wants to make it through one day without her fastidious mother, Lorraine, cataloguing all her faults, and her sullen teenage daughter, May, snubbing her. Too bad there’s no chance of that. Her relentlessly sunny disposition annoys them both, no matter how hard she tries. Instead, Gina finds order and comfort in obsessive list-making and her work at Grilled G’s, the gourmet grilled cheese food truck built by her late husband.

But when Lorraine suffers a sudden stroke, Gina stumbles upon a family secret Lorraine's kept hidden for forty years. In the face of her mother’s failing health and her daughter’s rebellion, this optimist might find that piecing together the truth is the push she needs to let go...

Ratings and reviews

4 reviews
A Google user
May 15, 2018
What would you do if everything you knew to be true was turned upside down and you found out the world as you knew it was a façade? That’s what happens to Gina in Amy E. Reichert’s The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go. Regina Zoberski, a single mom, is running Grilled G’s, a gourmet grilled cheese food truck, while raising her teenage daughter May alone, after losing her husband. Trying to fit the broken pieces of her life together, while staying strong for her daughter, Gina already has her hands full. When her mom becomes ill, she finds herself torn in yet another direction. Her oppressive mother is determined to keep Gina on her toes until a deep-rooted family secret is suddenly revealed. Gina talks her sister into helping her get to the bottom of their family history and unravel the truths one thread at a time as they question their mother Lorraine, and her lifelong best friend and the girl’s nanny Roza. As they find the truths of their past, their relationships strengthen, both with each other and with their mom. I really related to Gina’s relationship with Lorraine. I think they had a similar bond, or lack thereof, as my mom and me, and I understood the vacancy in their kinship. It gave me hope to see how they slowly mended their hearts and built their bond as Lorraine fought to live and Gina fought to understand her mother, realizing their time together was suddenly limited. One must also at least mention the food aspect of this book. Oh, how my mouth watered for those grilled cheese sandwiches! Sweet, savory, crispy, and gooey. Then, throw in May’s love of all things brownies, and I may have gained 5 pounds reading this book. Delicious! The title of this book so perfectly summed up Gina’s life perspective. She didn’t have the easiest childhood, then her adulthood provided her with plenty of lemons, and yet she relentlessly produced lemonade for herself and those around her. When life got tough, she got tougher. When she discovered the deeply buried secrets, she did something about it. What a beautiful outlook to have on life. She was a true example of seeing the world as half full, rather than half empty, a message we can all hold onto. A fantastically food-induced 4 star! **Review by Amy, Late Night Reviewer for Up All Night with Books**
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Peg Glover
May 15, 2018
The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go is a captivating, heart-wrenching and touching story. Lorraine realized that the easiest way to do something was not necessarily the best way. When the love of her life, Joe, died, instead of bringing up her two children alone, Lorraine sought the help of her estranged parents. Her father insisted that she marry well. Within weeks she was married to a man who would provide for her, and her children, financially. This would not be a marriage based on love though. Floyd needed a ready-made family and Lorraine, needed financial security. The catch was, unfortunately, that her children were never to know that Joe, was their real father. It would be as if he never existed. This secret would cost Lorraine, dearly. Gina always tried to look on the bright side of life. Some days; however, it seemed to be too much of a task. Gina, loved her mother, Lorraine, she just didn’t like her, sometimes. Lorraine was always finding fault with Gina, and the way she raised, May, her daughter. Gina lost her husband two years ago and although she knew May’s coldness towards her, was just grief over losing her father; it still stung. When Lorraine’s health failed her, Gina discovered the secret; Lorraine had buried for forty years. Although this truth was shocking, it was the catalyst for Gina’s healing. Gina, like her mother, had married a man she loved but lost him. Vicky, Gina’s sister, had married for convenience only, so it was no surprise when she found herself, caught in a loveless marriage. Neither Gina nor Vicky could move on with their lives until they learned to truly let go; Gina, the man she lost, and Vicky, the marriage that brought her pain. This book is about grief, letting go, and learning to live again. The Optimist’s Guide To Letting Go is a captivating story that touches the heart. Thank you, Galley Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
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Gaele Hi
May 15, 2018
4.5 stars rounded There’s something so comfortable about a Reichert novel – like those fuzzy warm socks, and stretched out just the way you like it sweater, that simply engulfs you and demands you settle in and enjoy the ride. This novel is no different, even if the characters in this have more issues and struggles to work through than any of her previous stories. Told from the main character Gina’s point of view, with bits from her mother Lorraine and her fourteen year old daughter May, this is a story of expectations, grief, moving on and eventually finding a way to move forward as secrets are revealed and the past weighs on the future. Now to my impressions of the book – it’s my favorite of Reichert’s to date: full of moments past and present, memories and struggles as the women try to reframe their lives in the now, after the griefs, secrets, resentments and struggles from their past. There are secrets galore, big secrets held closely in fear (from Lorraine) that made her a very judgmental, rigid and cold appearing woman. Secrets from Roza, Lorraine’s friend and nanny / auntie to Gina, Vicky and now May. Vicky’s marriage that ‘appears’ wonderful from the outside in: plenty of money, a nice house two hours from her mother, four kids with plenty of activities that leave Vicky alone, unable to communicate with her husband. Gina’s worry that Drew’s death have left May without her favorite parent, and her without her heart. Feeling the ‘push’ to move on from her neighbors and mother, yet unable to find the ‘right’ way to be, as she struggles with her own mother’s voice telling her to be ‘more like’ her sister, and seeming smug in the knowledge that she’d chosen the wrong man to marry. May’s own resentment of her mother for seeming to not care about her, her father’s death or even about anything she does – against the rules or not. All wrapped in their own griefs and questions, every issue has a root in the first big secret- Lorraine’s, and by extension, Roza’s complicity with that silence. With Lorraine’s stroke, the story starts to become one of discovery. A birth certificate and photograph of a man unknown to Gina and Vicky, Lorraine’s admission (to herself as her speech was affected greatly) that her daughters are strong and wonderful women, far more complete and successful than she was. Gina’s penchant for lists: the satisfaction of ticking off an item to be accomplished, the organization, the reliance on them as a sort of talisman to ‘get things done right’. And the food. OH the food – from Gina’s lovely grilled cheese and butter-drenched garlic bread (her junk food of choice) to May’s bacon-caramel brownies, coconut vegan brownies and her journal with thirty three new creations. Vicky’s discovery that her husband hasn’t time to listen, let alone interest, in what’s happening two hours north – and perhaps he never really did. It’s a book that is meant to be experienced. Do it this way. 1> Buy this book 2> Pick the comfy chair 3> Get snacks (you’ll want them) a drink and tissues handy. 4> Put up the do not disturb sign 5> Prepare to escape for a few hours (depending on how fast you read) 6> Come back and thank me – trust me, you’ll want to. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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About the author

Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, Luck, Love & Lemon Pie, The Simplicity of Cider, and The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go, loves to write stories that end well with characters you’d invite to dinner. A wife, mom, amateur chef, Fix-It Mistress, and cider enthusiast, she earned her MA in English Literature and serves on her local library’s board of directors.

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