Title: Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Every month, a letter. That’s what Lauren decides to leave her husband when she finds out she’s dying. Each month, she gives Josh a letter containing a task to help him face this first year without her, leading him on a heartrending, beautiful, often humorous journey to find happiness again in this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins.
Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they’re wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
As Lauren’s disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future–a future without the only woman he’s ever loved. He’s so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.
But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It’s a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed…from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn’t Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren’s most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn’t follow a straight line.
Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life’s greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight.
Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins is a captivating novel that packs a powerful emotional punch.
Josh and Lauren Park have their entire married lives in front of them when Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal diagnosis. Josh is a medical device engineer who is a workaholic. He is also socially awkward and has a difficult time figuring out social cues. Thankfully with his bubbly wife at his side, he has become much more adept in social situations. They are very close to Josh’s mom, Steph, and her neighbors, Ben & Sumi Kim, a wonderful couple whom he thinks of as parents. They also enjoy a delightful relationship with Lauren’s sister, Jen, her husband, Darius and their adorable children. Her mom has not been the same since her father’s death but she is a part of their lives as well. Lauren’s best friend from childhood, Sarah, rounds out their social group. Everyone is stunned by Lauren’s diagnosis but they are a strong support system both before and after her death.
Josh is heartbroken and barely functional after Lauren passes away. He steadfastly refuses to remember the day of her death and he is overwhelmed with crushing grief. But for the next twelve months he receives letters from Lauren that give him tasks to perform. His first month’s assignment is simple yet so very difficult to accomplish due to the memories that assail him at every turn. Josh looks forward to receiving the missives and they soon begin having a surprising impact on his life. He finds an unexpected friendship in a compassionate store clerk and although it takes months, Josh does begin to move forward.
The chapters alternate between Josh and Lauren’s points of view. Lauren’s chapters provide heartwarming peeks into their life together. She also pens letters to her deceased father in order to remain close to him. Lauren and Josh are deeply in love and while her diagnosis shocks them to the core, they become closer than ever. They are grateful for the time they have but at the same time, but it takes Lauren a while to come to terms with the inevitable outcome of her disease.
Pack Up the Moon is a deeply affecting novel of love, loss and healing. It is also a story of new beginnings as Josh comes to terms with Lauren’s death. All of the characters are multi-dimensional and their reactions to Lauren’s fate are realistically depicted. Josh’s grief is palpable and it is impossible not to react to the depth of his loss. The storyline is well-written and the story unfolds at a brisk pace. Kristan Higgins brings this touching novel to an incredibly heartfelt conclusion. I laughed, cried and absolutely loved this brilliant novel.