Cover Image: The Widow's Guide to Dead Bastards

The Widow's Guide to Dead Bastards

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Member Reviews

Clever title, intriguing premise, shocking intro, but....The Widow's Guide to Dead Bastards shocks the reader from page one when Jessica finds her husband has been hiding some dark secrets from her, and now that he died unexpectedly at the age of 47, there is nothing she can do about it.

I expected the author to take the reader through a more in-depth journey, but she only scratched the surface of his misdeeds. When she expressed anger in her writing, I felt for her. I could see the no-win situation, hopeless she had found herself in. She wanted to be able to hold her late husband accountable, yet there was no avenue in order for her to do so. Her writing felt most raw and sincere the few moments she shared her anger and frustration with the readers.

I struggled with the 2nd half of the book. It jumped all over trying to highlight her journey to find peace through several different avenues. The second half felt like a completely different book. I applaud her for writing her journey so candidly, I don't think many people would want to share all that she has shared, so although this was a four star start with two star ending, I'm going to rate it three stars for her courage to write her story.

Thanks Atria Books and Netgalley for this ARC.

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This book by far exceeded my expectations. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I’m so glad I read this.
The author talks about her husbands death and the secrets she uncovered.
There is so much emotion in this and you can really feel for the author. I felt really connected as a single mother.

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Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for this ARC. This book is almost like two different books. I was actually 46% of the way through the book when I realized I was reading a memoir; I hadn't remembered that as I began to read. It does read more like a novel, which I consider to be a good thing. Since her husband Sean dropped dead of a massive heart attack, she has to deal with the fact that he was addicted to porn and probably a sex addict and undiagnosed bipolar disorder. A few years ago there was a movie where this happened to George Clooney, his wife died in a tragic accident and he had to piece together that she was having an affair and wanting to leave him. In this case, they did have a very different marriage. I felt pretty sorry for the deceased in the first half, I was preparing to say that the "main character" wasn't really being fair to him. Then as I realized- this is a true story based on how she remembers it- I can't judge her for how she met Grief. It was really sad. Clearly Sean struggled with some demons, but I honestly believe he was a good person, good boss, good dad and in some ways, a good husband. I am sure he kept his struggles from his wife because he didn't know he was running out of time. I am sure he thought he could "fix things" without causing her pain. At that, he was wrong. The second half is a lot more disjointed and trying to make sense of her longer term grief. There are some supernatural elements. I do think she is a good writer, I just am not sure she told the story she meant to tell. Although I didn't love this one, I will connect with the author and follow her other work. I just think this project may have been a bit ambitious and missed the mark for me.

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The hook for the book is definitely the title and the blurb certainly backs it up. The death of her husband gives Jess a new insight into his life and the man it turns out she didn't really know. The struggle she goes through in the following years is a process that many have endured. Her transparency in dealing with the emotions of not only grieving his death, but also grieving the loss of the life she thought she knew. It is a touching, amazing look into this unfathomable period of her life, and (no spoiler here) she survives.

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Obviously I was drawn to this memoir by the hilarious title, cover, and description. The first sentence made me gasp and accept that this humorous book would be exactly what I needed after reading too many thrillers.

Jessica Waite’s husband, Sean, went on an important work trip to Texas and never made it back home. A sudden heart attack took his life, leaving Jessica and their son, Dash, mourning.

When going through Sean’s computer, she soon discovers that she didn’t really know her husband of seventeen years. She finds his compulsive spending, infidelity, gambling problem, and porn folders…lots of folders. He was living a double life behind her back, and she had no idea.

Jessica talks about her struggles of being a new widow, taking care of their young son, and going down memory lane to life with Sean and how she missed all the warning signs of his strange behavior.

I enjoyed the named chapters, the heartbreaking story, and the characters. The beginning was informative and entertaining, but around 68% I started struggling and found it hard to finish.

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After Jessica Waite's husband of fifteen years dies suddenly, she becomes aware of parts of his life that were hidden.
As she deals with the grief and betrayal, she does question family members and friends about how much they
knew. A main concern is safeguarding her son and not revealing information he is unable to handle at the
moment. After exploring different avenues, she reaches a point where she can move on.
#TheWidowsGuidetoDeadBastards #AtriaBooks #NetGalley

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I'm probably not in the target demographic for this book (middle aged white guy, married for 20 years) but the title grabbed me and I had to request it. It is fantastic. The memoir of a woman processing grief over years really held my attention and I read it over the course of a couple days because she writes so well. Based on the title I had a few guesses as to what I'd find (and was correct) but there's so much more I didn't expect and was happy to be surprised. I will happily read whatever may come next from Ms Waite.

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I found this piece to be exceptionally well-crafted, and I'm eagerly anticipating the opportunity to delve into more works by this author. Given its potential popularity among our library patrons, we're certainly looking forward to adding it to our collection

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I appreciated that Jessica Waite was able to share this story with us. It was a beautifully done story and was written in a interesting way and engaging the reader. It was beautifully done and glad I got to read this.

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When Jessica Waite's husband died suddenly in his 40s, she is devastated. However, she soon discovers he was hiding a lot of secrets: affairs, a porn addiction, and more. Waite takes readers along as she learns about all her husband had kept from her and tries to reconcile it with the man she thought she knew.

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This gripping memoir reads like fiction. As I read I kept having to remind myself that this was a true story. And yet the authors accounts of her feelings and struggles to reconcile the man she thought she knew to the man he was is so real, traumatic and emotional. I cried, I worried and laughed through this book. It was a beautiful testimony to healing rituals and using all sorts of ways to encounter those we have lost as well as to reconnect with ourselves. I have lost grandparents and a FIL, but no one as close as a husband, and yet I too could relate to this book. I will for sure be passing this on to all my friends regardless if they have had a recent loss of loved one, because I feel like we all deal with much of these emotions of grief in other areas of our lives all the time.

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I freaking LOVE this book. I was immediately hooked because omg, the first page is a shocker. And, big picture is that this is a raw, unfiltered journey through grief, betrayal, and healing. It hits close to home, not because it's unique, but because it's a risk we all face - and begs the question, how well do we know our spouse. Thank heavens resilience is a skill we all can build.

The author's voice comes through loud and clear, somehow both lyrical and straightforward, engaging and heartfelt. She shares so much about the pain she felt while grieving the man she thought she knew and the life they built together. The unveiling of her late husband's secrets aren't just for shock value. They're pivotal, pushing her to face a new future and to rebuild her life.

What makes the author's story stand out is its touch of the "Woo"—those moments that defy explanation, suggesting maybe love and connection go beyond the veil. It really makes you wonder what comes after this existence, and how much of our loved ones can we still connect with.

Waite's story connects deeply with anyone who's had to pick up the pieces of their life. This book is a light for anyone facing the darkness of grief and loss. And it's a reminder that there's still hope, love, and the chance for a fresh start. This book is a must-read for anyone who's been through the hard stuff and wants to come out stronger. I hope I would be as strong as the author... but I doubt it. I can at least live through her for a while.

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I came for the title and stayed for the guidance and the uncanny similarity to my own life. The raw emotion that put me in this woman's shoes through all the stages of grief, and the tough process of not only rebuilding your own life but rebuilding one without the husband who was your center, regardless of his flaws in life.

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Jessica Waite has written an incredible memoir about making sense of her marriage and her husband's hidden life in the aftermath of his sudden death. What she learns about Sean sends a shock through her system, the kind that reverberates for years and, a reader might imagine, might remain devastating for a lifetime. Jessica's journey is painful, teary, angry and confusing as she seeks to navigate life with her husband's extended family and to raise her young son while sparing him from the secrets she has discovered. This book reads like a novel that you just can't put down.

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I flat-out loved this book! The title had me curious and I really had no idea what to expect. From the first page, I couldn't put it down. It was full of not just great storytelling - funny, poignant, real, but also had so much wisdom to share. Waite bravely bares her heart and soul, and any reader is going to root for her. Her love story, her heartbreak, her mothering, the struggle of extended family, and the vulnerability of sharing a story that hugs so close to the bone will resonate widely. Her story is incredibly unique and at the same time could be any of ours. I can't wait to read more from this author. I've already begun recommending it everywhere.

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The memoir’s title and the description definitely caught my attention! I was captivated by the first two-thirds of the memoir during which the author explores the aftermath of her husband’s death, the devastating secrets about him she uncovers, and the good times they shared. The last third of the memoir focuses more on the author seeing signs of her husband, visiting psychics, attending conferences for widows, etc. I found this part to be less engaging. Overall, an interesting read that may have you wondering how well you know your partner.

Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a copy.

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4.75 ⭐️

This debut work by Jessica Waite is her grief memoir about her husband of 15 years, as she learns to grapple with his secrets she discovered after the fact. It was complex, humorous, tear jerking, and so interesting. Her writing skills are impeccable, and she has such a unique voice. Her personality shines through, even as she writes about her darkest moments. I truly admire her for just how honest she was about every thought and action she had in the wake of her tragedy.

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This book really had me in the first half. The first chapter was a little forced feeling but it set us up for finding out about more about her husband’s secrets and their marriage, Which continued in the book until it didn’t and it switched to her rambling about the afterlife and psychics in some overly long, noticeably more poorly written chapters.

In the end we learned very little about her husband, her marriage and how she dealt with this info going forward. It read like two books forced into one with one half being demonstrably worse. She didn’t take the book to the obvious places (why was he like this, did other people know and help him, what was their marriage really like before his death, what was his family like?) and instead it felt like she ran out of things she was willing to share but still had to meet her deadline so threw in some random chapters to be finished with the book and fulfill her contract,

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Well, with a name like The Widow's Guide to Dead Bastards, how could I not read it? Jessica Waite tells the story of becoming a widow and finding out her husband had some very dark secrets. Most importantly, he lied about more things than you can shake a stick at including one confirmed affair and probably more.

The first half of the book is exceptional. The story of finding out about the loss of her husband, telling her young son, and trying to keep her head afloat is told in a straightforward and will make you feel all of Jessica's emotions. She also examines how the people in her life treat her based on their proximity to her deceased husband. There is also a revenge tale which, which Jessica will admit was probably not the most emotionally healthy, but it was a hell of a lot of fun to read. Anyone who has experienced loss and betrayal will understand where she is coming from.

The second half of the book falls apart. In the description of the book, it is not hidden that Jessica starts to wonder about the Great Beyond and she starts a journey to learn more. We should never fault someone for believing what they want about someone who has passed on. The problem with this part of the book is not what Jessica uses to find peace but that it does not pack the emotional charge the book started with. All the chapters are short, but a chapter on an episode with her son Dash just hits much harder than a chapter on a healer who is a stranger to the reader.

Rating memoirs as a reviewer can be thorny. My star rating has nothing to do with Jessica's willingness to open her soul to the reader. Her story itself and her openness in telling it deserves the highest score. However, as a reader, I did not like how she chose to present that story in the second half of the narrative. Unfortunately, it was enough to temper enthusiasm I had from the first half.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Atria Books.)

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This was a fantastic and heartbreaking read. What Jessica went through was truly a nightmare—losing someone suddenly and finding out so much after the fact about who he was. Great discussions can be had about this book.

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