Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral

By Kris Radish

7 copies

For Katherine Givens and the four women about to become her best friends, the adventure begins with a UPS package. Inside is a pair of red sneakers filled with ashes and a note that will forever change their lives. Katherine’s oldest and dearest friend, the irrepressible Annie Freeman, left one final request–a traveling funeral–and she wants the most important women in her life as “pallbearers.”

From Sonoma to Manhattan, Katherine, Laura, Rebecca, Jill, and Marie will carry Annie’s ashes to the special places in her life. At every stop there’s a surprise encounter and a small miracle waiting, and as they whoop it up across the country, attracting interest wherever they go, they share their deepest secrets–tales of broken hearts and second chances, missed opportunities and new beginnings. And as they grieve over what they’ve lost, they discover how much is still possible if only they can unravel the secret Annie left them....

Publishers Weekly
Radish's latest overwrought book (after Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn) tracks five strangers- turned-soul mates over the course of the titular funeral, posthumously organized by their friend Annie, who died from ovarian cancer at age 56. A package arrives at Katherine Givens's front door and in it are the ashes of her free-spirited, altruistic childhood friend, along with instructions for a procession that will take Annie's closest friends on a cross country trip from Sonoma, Calif., to Manhattan, sprinkling her remains as they go. Just nine days later, Annie's former university colleague Jill, women's crisis savior Laura, cantankerous neighbor Rebecca and her hospice aide Marie join Katherine on the journey during which they learn their eccentric friend's deepest secrets and share many of their own. Most importantly, these unorthodox urnbearers understand the greatness Annie saw in them and attain the courage to act on it. Windswept melodrama marks Radish's prose (e.g. "these moments were the ones Marie needed to keep the tears and gashes in her own soul from washing her out to sea"), but that will not deter readers who relish the idea of women forming bonds when their mettle is tested and finding power and self-actualization in grief, sharing and love. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

From Booklist

Annie passes away at the youthful age of 56, leaving her high-school friend, Katherine, responsible for organizing her traveling funeral. Katherine receives a UPS package with Annie's favorite pair of red high-top sneakers, which contain her ashes, and instructions to contact four other women who played pivotal roles in her life. All of the women either have met or heard of each other through Annie, and all agree to fulfill her request that they fly across the country together and disperse her ashes at places meaningful to Annie. The women encounter beauty in unlikely places and people who either knew Annie or were somehow touched by her, causing the women to miss Annie all the more and reevaluate themselves and their missed opportunities. The funeral party turns into a true celebration of the deceased and her wonderful life. Once again, Radish celebrates women's inimitable friendships in an ode to sisterhood that will make her many fans rejoice.

From Amazon Books 11/7/11

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