While The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons revolves largely around death, the novel has an unassuming cheer about itself. Though it could be gathered from the title, this book details the life of Eudora Honeysett and how she has endured her often gloomy days and how she comes to make the most of them.
Honeysett is an 85-year-old woman living alone in England when she makes the decision that she would like to die on her own terms in an agency in Switzerland that will assist her to death. After a life full of experience and pain, Honeysett grows tired of the shackles that old age brings and merely wishes for the end of the road. At first, I thought that the novel would be depressing with it being centered around the topic of death and all, but I actually found that it turned out to be quite pleasant and uplifting.
When Honeysett finally thought her desire for death was clear, her new fire-cracker of a neighbor, Rose Trewidney, took her life by storm. Just 10-years-old and brimming with spunk and life, Rose quickly encaptures Honeysett into an exciting friendship, along with their recently widowed neighbor Stanley. This unlikely trio seize life for all that it is through a series of simple adventures (suitable for old people of course).
Honeysett’s time with her new friends reminds her of several aspects of her devastating past. In every other chapter of this book, memories of her past are interwoven to emphasize some of the hardships of her young life and how they shaped her. Having grown up in England during World War II, Honeysett had to endure sending her father off to war only for him to never return. Following her father’s death, a 10-year-old Honeysett was determined to keep the promise that she made to him to always take care of her mother and sister. This task quickly burdened her and caused her a lifetime of sacrifice.
With no family left to watch over, and great new friends, Honeysett is able to live for herself and find pleasure in life. Her new friendships prompt her to question her decisions on death as she gains a new sense of life, while her appointment in Switzerland draws closer.
I will say that this book has a bit of a slow start, but it did not take me too much time to fall in love with its story. This novel really resonated with me, especially with the world around me being in the quarantined state that is, because sometimes I just feel like going through the motions of life, but this has reminded me of the importance of putting meaning and fun into everything that I do no matter the circumstances.
This book proves that everyone can turn themselves around and be better, no matter how young or old and even if it requires some assistance. Life is a gift and it is important that we treat it and go about our days believing so.
This novel is nothing short of heartwarming and will motivate you to get up and live life to its fullest!