The Collected Regrets of Clover
The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer. Releasing May 9, 2023
"'Intelligence will only get you so far in life...and the same could be said for wit and charm. But two things will serve you better than any others.'
'What are they?'
He took a thoughtful sip of coffee. 'Infinite curiosity and a keen sense of observation.'"
Ever since she saw her kindergarten teacher drop dead while telling a story, and her parents died while on a frivolous vacation, introvert Clover Brooks has been a little obsessed with death. She studied the death traditions of different cultures in college, and when her grandfather that raised her died alone while she was doing research, she decided to become a death doula, to help terminal patients navigate through their end-of-life experiences.
Clover records the final words of her clients in three dilapidated books with the spine inscriptions, REGRETS, ADVICE and CONFESSIONS to honor and hopefully learn from their wisdom. Clover received this advice from Olive, a, a cartographer with a melanoma who made her promise to always wear sunscreen:
"Whenever I moved to a new city or started a new relationship, I'd always change my perfume...that way I'd be able to look back and relive my best memories...whenever I smelled it."
One day Clover meets a man named Sebastian at a "Death Café," a gathering of people to discuss various aspects of death. Sebastian is struggling with the death of his beloved grandmother Claudia, and hires Clover to be her death doula. Clover instantly connects with Claudia, a colorful character who tells Clover all about her life as a photojournalist:
"Before I ever took a photo of anyone I'd take the time to get to know them--asking them about their childhood dreams....And then, as they were talking, I'd start clicking the shutter."
When Claudia reveals a painful story of lost love, Clover and her neighbor Sylvie who might just be Clover's first friend her own age, seek to find the man in question. In the process, Clover begins to open to new relationships.
Clover's character is reminiscent of the protagonists in the books Meredith, Alone, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, in that she is painfully shy, awkward, and fearful of failing at friendships with her peers. But The Collected Regrets of Clover delves deeply into the processes and rituals surrounding death and dying in a way that feels beautifully authentic and uplifting.
"One young creative life blossoms as another one ends; there was something beautiful about the tenuous reality of being human."
Thanks #NetGalley for the ARC for The Collected Regrets of Clover in exchange for an honest review!
Hardcover 320 pages, Audiobook 9 hours, 49 minutes.