Is there a right way to die? If so, Joanna DeAngelis has it all wrong. She’s consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days cyberstalking Ned McGowan, much younger ex, and watching him thrive in the spotlight with someone new, while she wastes away. She’s every woman scorned, fantasizing about revenge … except she’s out of time.Joanna falls from her life, from the love of daughters and devoted dog, into an otherworldly landscape, a bleak infinity she can’t escape until she rises up and returns and sets it right – makes Ned pay – so she can truly move on.From the other side into right this minute, Jo embarks on a sexy, spiritual odyssey. As she travels beyond memory, beyond desire, she is transformed into a fierce female force of life, determined to know how to die, happily ever after.
As most of you know, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the BookSparks 2016 Fall Reading Challenge and today’s post is one of the November books on the list. The “Course Title” for this book is Ghost Stories 101, and the Department is Paranormal Studies.
The description of this book said that it was about a woman who dies and comes back as a ghost to haunt her ex-lover. Very honestly, if I had picked this book up at the store and read the back cover, more than likely I would have put it back just because it is about “ghosts”. I would have missed a great read because this story is much more complex than your simple “ghost story” – there’s a whole psychological side to this one.
The Next starts out describing Joanna’s death and to me, it was disturbing and emotional. She’s a New Yorker, she’s 47 and she has cancer and is dying. I felt like I was slowly getting drawn into depression and was glad to see that part of the story end. Instead of spending her last days on earth enjoying her two daughters Joanna chose to wallow in the rage resulting from her younger lover’s betrayal.
Once Joanna dies (which is pretty early in the book), the rest of the story is what she left behind and her attempting to get things “right” from the afterlife. She returns to earth as an angry spirit, she is hell bent on vengeance and seeks revenge on the guy who dumped her for a seemingly more beautiful life.
You’ll have to read the book to learn the rest of the story, but let me tell you that it turned out to be much more entertaining than I had thought it would be. Ms. Gangi gives readers characters who were all interesting and sympathetic. Joanna’s daughters, the poodle and Joanna really got to me. The story itself is fast moving and absorbing. The Next was definitely a quick read that kept me flipping pages to the very end. Ms. Gangi is a talented author and I’m sure I’ll be watching out for her next book!!
STEPHANIE GANGI lives and works in New York City. She was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, and raised her own kids in Tribeca, Rockland County and on the Upper West Side.
Gangi’s first publishing credit, many years ago, was a children’s book, Lumpy: A Baseball Fable, co-written with pitching great (and New York Met) Tug McGraw. She ghostwrote a tell-all about Liberace in 1984 but left the only copy in a taxicab. She has written jacket copy, pitch letters, business plans, speeches, mortgage checks, absence excuse notes, letters to editors, hundreds of poems, dozens of story starts, dating profiles, countless email, texts, sexts and random tweets. She once chalked a love note on the wall of a Paris alley in the rain.
Her poem, “Four,” was a 2014 award winner and appears in the anthology for The Hippocrates Society of Poetry and Medicine. The poem “Talking to My Dead Mother About Dogs” appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of the New Ohio Review. The Next is her debut. She is working on her second novel.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks as part of the Fall Reading Challenge 2016 (#FRC2016) in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.