Book Review: The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons

May 17, 2021 – Sarah Vohsen, Adult Services

This column was first published in the May 2021 issue of The Best Years (TBY).

Eudora Honeysett is done with the world. She’s seen 85 years of life waste away with nothing more to show for it than a cantankerous cat. Now her body is gradually failing her. She can feel it in the slowness of her movements. And while her mind is still sharp Eudora plans to take her future, or lack thereof, into her own hands. She will end her life on her terms.

However, Eudora’s plan might go awry when her new neighbor Rose, a young girl with a willful attitude decides to make Eudora her newest friend. Over the next few weeks, Eudora’s life is brightened Rose’s random visits, and she is dragged into the girl’s adventurous outings, which often involve Stanley Marcham the elderly man who lives down the street.

These three become an odd trio as Eudora begins to see the joy of having others around. But she is still determined to end her life before she loses control of herself. Can Rose and Stanley make Eudora change her mind, or will she really be able to forfeit her newfound happiness for the ending she desires?

Annie Lyons’s The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett is nearly 400 pages, but it was a surprisingly quick read. I really enjoyed the way Lyons brought life to her characters. She showed many sides of these characters, and despite the fact that Eudora’s past and present take up the majority of this text, Lyons gave both Stanley and Rose relatable personalities that felt realistic. I especially liked the interactions between Eudora and Rose as they grew into each other’s lives.

Overall this was an enjoyable book, and I would definitely suggest trying it if you liked A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, which is the story of a cranky old man and the noisy neighbors he learns to like. If you are looking for something else, I would also suggest All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank. This is the story of three women who grow together in the face of grief. The library has all of these books in print.


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