79-year-old Gloria Frensham is a hoarder. She lives amongst piles of magazines, cardboard boxes and endless knick-knacks that are stacked into every room of her home, and teeter in piles along the landing and up the stairs.
She hasn’t left the house in years, but when a sudden smell of burning signifies real danger, she is forced to make a sudden departure and leave behind her beloved possessions.
Determined she’s not ready for a care home, Gloria sets out to discover what life still has to offer her. It’s time to navigate the outside world on her own, one step at a time, with just one very small suitcase in tow...
Heart-warming and poignant in equal measure, this is a story about the loneliness of life, the struggles of growing old, the power of kindness, and the bravery it takes to leave our comfort zones.** Early praise from NetGalley reviewers **
‘This book has to be in my top best loved books of 2018. I enjoyed every single page. There was never a dull moment.’
‘Without a doubt, readers will be charmed by the many colourful characters and their relationships with each other, as well as where life takes Gloria next.’
‘This delightful book will enchant any reader who has a soul.’
‘Fans of A Man Called Ove and Three Things About Elsie will find comfortable, enjoyable ground here.’
‘It would make a great and inspired book club read.’
‘A beautiful, charming, witty story’
‘This is a novel that perhaps we all need to read. It is a realistic look into aging with humour and some sadness, that all too many often forget to see.’
‘A lesson on how to live life!’
‘Oh Gloria Frensham, what a fabulous ride you gave us on your adventures in this book. I suspect this will turn out to be a film and very much on a par with Lady in the Van.’
Jane Gilley has previously self-published five children’s books. The Woman Who Kept Everything is her debut adult novel. For more information on Jane Gilley’s work can be found at www.janegilley.com.
An extraordinary look at what it means to grow old and a heartening guide to well-being, Happiness Is a Choice You Make weaves together the stories and wisdom of six New Yorkers who number among the “oldest old”— those eighty-five and up.
In 2015, when the award-winning journalist John Leland set out on behalf of The New York Times to meet members of America’s fastest-growing age group, he anticipated learning of challenges, of loneliness, and of the deterioration of body, mind, and quality of life. But the elders he met took him in an entirely different direction. Despite disparate backgrounds and circumstances, they each lived with a surprising lightness and contentment. The reality Leland encountered upended contemporary notions of aging, revealing the late stages of life as unexpectedly rich and the elderly as incomparably wise.
Happiness Is a Choice You Make is an enduring collection of lessons that emphasizes, above all, the extraordinary influence we wield over the quality of our lives. With humility, heart, and wit, Leland has crafted a sophisticated and necessary reflection on how to “live better”—informed by those who have mastered the art.