Edie Richter is moving with her husband from San Francisco to Perth, Australia. She leaves behind a sister and mother still mourning the recent death of her father. Before the move, Edie and her husband were content, if socially awkward―given her disinclination for small talk.
In Perth, Edie finds herself in a remarkably isolated yet verdant corner of the world, but Edie has a secret: she committed an unthinkable act that she can barely admit to herself.
... though Edie Richter Is Not Alone documents the trauma of illness and the ravaging effects it has on Edie’s family with such honesty and accuracy that it made my ribs ache, it’s more a book about what happens next ... When witnessing a character’s steady and stubborn descent into full breakdown mode, it can be tempting for readers to judge the quality of a book based on said character’s poor decisions or bad behavior. Too often we throw away a novel because we deem its protagonist to be 'unrelatable,' or worse, 'unlikable'...In this case, Edie Richter Is Not Alone blossoms under the weight of Edie’s crisis. Yes, her selfishness is unpalatable at times. (An examination of whether her actions are justifiable could take up a whole other review.) But it’s also what makes her human ... It may seem counterintuitive to pick up a novel about death and grief when so many people are suffering at this moment in history. (More sadness? No thanks!)...What Handler’s book teaches us is that facing tragedy head-on and accepting death as a constant are the only ways to get through it. Plus, reading about or sharing someone else’s pain teaches us empathy ... No, Edie Richter wasn’t alone in her anxiety, her sorrow or attempts to heal, though she felt like it most of the time. Though all of us probably believe the opposite right now in this age of elbow bumps and quarantines, neither are we.
Debuting novelist Handler’s Edie joins the ranks of unforgettably eccentric, intelligent women protagonists, such as the titular character in Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (2017) and Eleanor Flood in Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different (2016).
... striking ... Amusing details like this, rendered in sharply wrought sentences and brief paragraphs, keep this story of lost moorings light on its feet ... Handler gets it right from the title on out. Edie is definitely not alone. Her plight is one many readers will respond to deeply and perhaps even be soothed by. Along those lines, the depiction of Edie's relationship with her somewhat clueless husband, who wants so much to help, hits the perfect note ... Profound yet often quite funny, keenly observed, and deeply affecting.