Cover Image: The Collected Regrets of Clover

The Collected Regrets of Clover

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"The Collected Regrets of Clover" is about Clover, a death doula, and the lessons she learns as she helps people transition from this life to whatever comes next.  The book was well-written and explored a profession that I knew nothing about, which I found very engaging.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for an arc in exchange for my honest review. 

Publication: May 9, 2023 

I've tried reading this book multiple times the last few months and I struggled as a reader. Firstly, I loved learning all the information about a death doula and seeing Clover not truly living her life. This book is very character driven as we watch Clover try to figure life out. 

I think I struggled because a lot of pieces to this story are 
 involving Clover reflecting on her experiences. As a reader, I appreciate when a character reflects but not for chapters on chapters worth. I really resonated with some of the quotes regarding grief and loss. 

This book would be perfect for fans of: Eleanor Oliphiant, Queenie, character driven stories, a deeper look into grief/passing away/loss
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Clover is a socially awkward girl who happens to be a death doula. What is a death doula? Similar to a birthing doula guiding an expecting mother through giving birth, a death doula helps guide someone to the next stage in their life, whether it be getting papers together, listening to stories and/or regrets, but most importantly, for that person not to be alone during their next stage in life. 

A little backstory: Clover’s parents had passed away when she was very young and has been fascinated with death. Not how one dies, but how different cultures deal with death and whether there is an afterlife or not.

Her grandpa raised her and when he passed, he was alone. From that life changing event, she became a death doula. She works constantly so she doesn’t have to deal with her grandpa’s passing. 

This was an amazingly written book about life and death. While some parts were very sad, it was because you really grew to love the characters. The writing flowed really well and you just wanted the characters to all be happy.
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Everything in life hits me a little different since my mom passed away November 8, 2022 but WOW- book was especially poignant for me and should be a must read for all people. I didn’t really understand grief until I was forced to experience it. I didn’t appreciate how everyone experiences it differently and how it doesn’t just “go away”‘with the passing of time. 

This book is such a beautiful tribute to death but also to LIVING- taking chances, chasing dreams. So many of us end our lives with regrets, but this is such a wonderful reminder that we don’t have to. We can live a life that brings fulfillment and satisfaction. 

I loved everything about this. Well written, excellent characters. Perfection.
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7/10

Clover is a Death Doula. Yes, it’s a real thing. I googled it to make sure. 

You have probably heard of a birth doula - essentially a midwife type person who helps guide the mother in bringing a baby into this world. 

A death doula, on the other hand, guides people on their journey out of this world. They sit with people on their death bed and provide them comfort. They let people talk about their life - the happy moments and the regrets. They help make sure all their basics are in place for when they die. 

Another thing I’d never heard of until this book are Death Cafes. They actually exist. They are somewhat informal gatherings of people who talk to each other about death. 

So anyway, Clover, the protagonist, is a death doula. Subject matter aside, this book is not a dark or depressing book.  In fact, her job as a death doula is not even the most interesting thing about Clover. 

She is a complete loner. Never dated anybody, never even kissed anybody. Doesn’t have any friends and only knows about love by watching rom-coms.  Yet she is a caring gentle companion to people on their deathbed. 

Well, the story unfolds when Clover gets a new client and helps the client share her life. 

People seem to love this book. I can’t say I love it, but it was a good enough read. 

The characters were interesting, unfortunately they were just short of believable. The writing flowed well, unfortunately the descriptions and dialogue sometimes seemed forced. The story was pleasant but there was nothing surprising or groundbreaking about it. 

It was like a good vanilla ice cream cone. The ice cream is good to eat and I enjoyed it enough, but it’s just vanilla. Kinda bland. 

#netgalley #thecollectedregretsofclover
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I can see this resonated with SO many people. It ended up being "just ok" for me - but still, I'd absolutely encourage others to pick it up.

Clover is a 36-year-old death doula living alone in New York a decade after her grandfather who raised her passed away. Her only friends are her octogenarian neighbor Leo, her dog, and two cats. Clover's job means being there by the side of those who are dying, helping them to come to terms with their lives and transition into whatever it is that comes next. But despite the extensive collection of last words she documents in three binders - Advice, Confessions, and Regrets - she still finds herself afraid to try new things and meet new people. That might change, though, when a new neighbor moves in and a new job pushes her outside her comfort zone.

I loved the concept, and was extremely excited to pick this book up. There was a lot to like! Some of the descriptions and metaphors were very creative and unique, creating an immersive picture of Clover's life, and there were some very interesting conversations around how we treat death in different cultural traditions, generations, etc. A book about death could very easily become painfully depressing - this was not that at all. In fact, it was really more about life in the end - making sure you live your life in a way that reduces the regrets you'll have at the end.

There was something about the writing and dialogue though that didn't land quite right, though. I am having trouble putting my finger on it exactly. The dialogue didn't really flow naturally, and some of the prose felt... simplistic? I don't think that is really the right word, since like I said, there were some great descriptions. It almost read like a YA book, but I don't think it is one.

Also, maybe this contributed in part, but Clover as a main character stumped me a bit. A death doula with her skill level needs to be incredibly empathetic and understand people well. In every other area of her life, she was like a teenager in her level of experience and interactions with people, almost like she was emotionally stunted. But that doesn't fit with the requirements for her job, or with the flashbacks to her as a globetrotter traveling alone across continents.

Despite these minor qualms, I still had fun reading this book and genuinely enjoyed my time!

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC to read and review.
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3.75/5 stars!

There were some really beautiful aspects to this book. This is a book that even though wasn't perfect will leave a lasting impact on its reader. The Collected Regrets of Clover is a story about death, yes, but more importantly it is a story about living. A story of grief, a story of growth, a story of love, and so much more. I didn't exactly know what a death doula was prior to reading this book or what to expect, however, reading about Clover's profession felt very special and intimate. My favorite part of the book was the messages interwoven between the pages and how relatable and raw certain parts of it could make me feel. I could sense the potential of a 5 star read, however there were certain aspects that fell flat and felt contradicting. I liked Clover's character but was confused on how despite the many interactions she had with people due to her job, she had no idea how the real world worked in a way? I don't know something felt a little off. It took me quite a few days to finish this book as I didn't get swept up into it until a little over the halfway mark. I also wished we saw just a little more interactions and dialogue between Clover and the other side characters, especially Hugo as we only received a small fraction of him. The potential was definitely there and I really loved certain aspects of this book, however it just fell slightly off the mark for me. Despite these aspects the read was completely worth it and I do think many readers will love it. Definitely will be recommending.
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I absolutely loved this book. It's a very unique and fascinating read that deals with a profession that I had never heard of. It's beautifully written while keeping you engaged. The author has you feeling all kinds of emotions and keeps you fascinated about what Clover the main character will learn from her interactions. It's a journey that is inspirational. I highly recommend this book.  My sincere thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin"s Press for giving me the opportunity to read and review a digital ARC of this novel. Publication: May 9, 2023.
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I am so glad I read this book. I had never heard of a death doula before and I absolutely love the idea. I have a lot of this going on in my personal life and to sit with Clover in this novel and see this process, it really felt like a warm hug. This book was filled with just the right amount of details - it felt like a learning moment, just as much as a character study of Clover. Would highly recommend to my reading groups.
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An enjoyable, easy read that overall I really enjoyed. 
I found Clover to quite relatable, and did feel for her throughout. I will say my favorite parts of her character were the insight into her experiences as a death doula. I truly loved reading about her work interactions and found the notebook she kept to be such a special aspect to Clover.
The story was easy and follow and the pace kept me reading, though the conversational tone did come off as much younger than the characters were supposed to be.
The Collected Regrets of Clover was a great story, and I’m thankful I got to read it!
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What a read this was!  It was unique and insightful in all the best ways.  I’m surprised this is a debut and can’t wait to see what this author does next.  Very heartfelt and sweet, and I love the main character so much.  

My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Special thanks to NetGalley and the author for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. 
Expected publication date: May 9, 2023
Mikki Brammer’s debut novel, “The Collected Regrets of Clover” is a beautifully uplifting story about life, death, and the journeys in between.
When Clover was five years old, her kindergarten teacher dropped dead in front of her. When she was six, her parents were killed in a boating accident and she was sent to live with her maternal grandfather, who quickly became her idol and role model. But Clover’s obsession with death never really left her; she attended “death cafés”, got her masters in how other cultures observe death rituals, and, after the death of her grandfather, she became a death doula, helping others make their journey to the “other side”. Clover’s obsession has resulted in her living a solitary life, keeping others at a distance to avoid rejection. But as she helps others pass on, she begins to think about what living a “full life” actually means, and if fear is worth putting her life on hold for. 
Clover is a lovable character, living essentially as a social recluse, finding escape through books and literally surrounding herself with death and dying. Clover is unabashedly honest and content with the life she has chosen (until she isn’t). Her life has been peppered with grief and loss, and Clover uses these experiences to help others, often at the cost of her own interest. There is definitely a lot in Clover that is relatable, and Brammer makes it easy for readers to connect with her protagonist from page one. 
One would think “Regrets” would be a dark, depressing read, based on its premise and subject matter, but in fact, Brammer creates an uplifting, life affirming story, bringing a deep understanding of life through death, spotlighting the taboo subject within a thought-provoking plot. 
Although there are a few romantic storylines in “Regrets” (and how could there not be in a story about dying and regrets?) Brammer keeps those in the background, only using them as a way for Clover to find her true self, and to create the life she wants and chooses. Every chapter in this novel leaves an indelible mark and I loved how Brammer brought the plot to a delightful and positive conclusion.
“Regrets” is creative and uniquely different, and I would put this debut in a genre all its own. Brammer will have a tough act to follow after this stunning introduction. I look forward to her next work, and perhaps a reintroduction to Clover?
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The premise of this book is so compelling. Clover is a death doula; she cares for people who are very near the end of their life. Clover is not a medical professional; her job is to offer comfort, compassion and companionship to those who may not have anyone in their lives to fill that need. Clover is no stranger to death; from a very young age she experienced the deaths of a teacher and of her parents. While her career choice is commendable, she seems to have used it as an excuse to not live a life of her own. 

I loved the secondary characters in this story, and I loved learning about Clover. The book was a near perfect read for me, until I reached about the 80% mark. Clover suddenly seemed judgy, and I was a little afraid this story was going to morph into a sugary romance. But I was pleasantly surprised by an ending that was poignant, realistic, life-affirming and satisfying. I will definitely read this author again.

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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UPDATED REVIEW"
So I finally finished the book - it was sweet and endearing.  Took me almost 65% of the book to enjoy Clover.  Immediately loved Hugo and Claudia.  Had some really great thoughts "next right step forward" and how to live a beautiful life now.  Wish some of the characters came sooner in the book but overall it was a cute plot.

I received this copy of The Collected Regrets of Clover, for an honest review from Net Galley and St Martins press. 

OLD REVIEW:
Kept waiting for the plot, the inciting incident, or the story to get better but it never did.  Read 25% of the book (not sure what percent counts for "gave it a try" is but I stopped there) and wanted to like it so much.

I might try to go back and read it over the holiday but just could not like the main character or the story (which at that point was not going anywhere)
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Clover is a prickly introvert, and despite her questionable decisions and manners, she miraculously remains a likable character. Her journey to emerge from her shell is a slow one, but she gets there. Without giving anything away, I did enjoy that the initial “romance” took an unexpected turn, though much of the story went as expected. 

“The Collected Regrets of Clover” would make for a good book club read. Fans of “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” would likely enjoy this one. However, if talk of death is a trigger for you, avoid it.
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Just so-so for me.
I appreciated the concept of the novel and the plot was okay.  But plot couldn't carry with dull, distant characters. 
Clover is a "quirky" character trying too hard to be Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant....and not making it.
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Clover is a death doula. She is also socially awkward, quirky, lonely, and a bit of a mess; however, she is also kind and extremely lovable.  Her life has been on pause for years after a family tragedy.  Her most recent client and a new neighbor bring some new perspective to Clover and her life may never be the same.

I absolutely loved this book! It deserves all the stars, but sadly I am limited to five.  I received an advanced copy from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review, so here it is.  You absolutely must read this book! It is rare that a book makes me reflect seriously on my life.  This book did just that!
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Collected Regrets of Clover.

I was pretty eager to read this based on the premise. I've never heard of a death doula before so I was incredibly intrigued and wanted to know more.

Other than learning what a death doula is and does, the narrative was more romance-y than I expected.

My biggest issue is Clover. I didn't dislike her but I didn't like her. I wouldn't want to hang out with her.

Clover is the trending character you find in so many books these days; quirky, a loner, off-beat, lacking confidence and self-esteem.

She's got all these 'supposedly' great qualities; she's attractive, kind, hot, well-read, but she doesn't see it in herself because she's quirky or too lonely and needs someone to tell her and even when they do, she misinterpret their words and actions and body language.

Actually, she misinterprets a lot.

She's afraid to take risks and risk opening up for fear of being hurt, which I understand and empathize with, but she's also incredibly naive despite her career choice and has done some traveling in college.

She self medicates by watching rom-coms and misinterprets body language, automatically assuming someone likes her or every couple she sees is in love. 

I had to remind myself she's in her late thirties, not early twenties.

I'm getting tired of these kinds of main characters; awkward, shy, doesn't realize how attractive she is until people say it to her face and even then she's all "umm....hehe...no I'm not."

I loved learning about what a death doula does but once Clover is hired by Sebastian to support his grandmother, Claudia, the story became a Lifetime special.

Why does the main character in a story always have to have a romantic partner?

Why couldn't Clover find a group of BFFs to hang with? There's fulfillment with having a great network of friends.

Or maybe Clover could have empowered herself by undertaking the regrets she has collected through the years. 

That would have been a far more interesting story instead of listening to her hem and haw about Sebastian and Sylvie.

I like the premise of The Collected Regrets of Clover but wished it had gone in a different direction with a better developed main character.
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Sweet and a little sad. Much lighter than the usual Literary Fiction I read. I was attracted as the idea of a "death doula" was intriguing to me. Did not expect it to be more of a romantic, chick-lit genre. Cute story, but a bit formulaic -- think "Me Before You" meets "A Man Called Ove," both great books, but this one feels a little derivative. Not a must-read, but a quick and enjoyable one nonetheless.
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This book surprised me. Our protagonist is Clover, a death doula and a bit of a loner. Despite the fact that the story deals with a profession of death and grief, Brammer was somehow able to create a story that was still very much uplifting and insightful, as well as captivating and though provoking. Her ability to balance all of these in a story is beyond impressive.

I thought Clover was perfect. Her interactions with people felt genuine and I couldn’t help but root for her. The ending also surprised me and I loved it. For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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