Edith and Ashley have been best friends for over forty-two years. They've shared the mundane and the momentous together, but now the unthinkable has happened. Edi is dying of ovarian cancer and spending her last days at a hospice near Ash, who stumbles into heartbreak.
Here is the thing about this book. It is excruciatingly heartbreaking, but I laughed out loud on almost every page. And I am not an easy laugher. Newman’s voice is hilarious and warm; her characters feel like old friends ... [A] winning novel.
A love letter to best-friendship ... While Newman is not afraid to take us — and herself — right up to the hardest, most raw and unendurable faces of loss, she is also not afraid to show us the light, the exquisite beauty, and weird, lifesaving hilarity of the same. And that is what makes this story not only bearable, but affirming, entertaining, and unaccountably, wonderfully funny ... She has a deep talent for the macabre humor and absurdity that it takes to describe the loss of someone you cannot bear to lose. (There is also, much to my delighted surprise, quite a bit of sex in the book.) On more than one occasion, I found myself crying and then immediately laughing out loud ... I was afraid Newman’s book would break my heart, and I was right. But it was a good break — the kind of break that breaks you open. And it also made me laugh (and sometimes, laugh-sob). The thing is — life is at times completely, utterly unbearable. It is just absolutely not endurable. Who thought this up?
Compulsively readable and tenderly hilarious ... We All Want Impossible Things is one more reminder of Newman’s characteristic blend of self-deprecation and openheartedness ... The book doesn’t pretend or indeed attempt to resolve grief but watches it with warm eyes, invites its readers into grief’s impossibilities without false comfort but with unremitting gentleness ... I wasn’t sure I could read another book about another woman besieged by cancer, another unspeakable loss ... But the novel buoyed me up instead.