Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

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My feelings towards this book are a little conflicting. My uncertainly stems from the notion that it had so much potential, and I want to solely rate it on that. After thinking about it long and hard, I have come to the conclusion that it is a solid 3 stars . There were things that I enjoyed, but there were others that I didn’t enjoy. I did not necessary hate the book; but I am not planning on adding it to my “favorites” anytime soon. 

Prior Thoughts Before Reading 

The idea that a grandma booked a family trip and planned to "die with dignity" at the end was intriguing to me. I hoped that the book would deal with the emotional impact on her family members because of her decisions. I figured Enzo would be like the grandmother and planned the trip to die with dignity. 

Plot 

The plot was mainly character driven. However, in the end the character development was not prominent. It could be a little predictable, but there are some things that came as a surprise. It was not as emotional that I had hoped it would be. And I did not really connect to any characters. 

It seemed to be rushed which allowed for a lot of developments to be nonexistent. This book could be dark at times considering most of the cruise ship is full of people who are dying. However, it was not overly dark because of the humor. The humor is a little dirty and dark. 

I really think this book tried too hard to be funny. There seemed like there was a joke for everything, which allowed for the emotional impact of the reader to be lost. Most of the humor was a little over the top. 

Also, I really enjoyed the “Loose Ends List” aspect of it. It will get you thinking about your own list. It’s basically a bucket list, but I thought “Loose Ends List” sounded cooler. In addition, if you looked deeper there could be some good messages mixed into this book. 

I enjoyed the traveling aspect, however, I felt that more descriptions would have allowed for me to be more emerged into the locations. 

Characters 

There were a lot of personalities in this book, however, because of the abundance of characters they blended together. Throughout the book, I found  myself forgetting who was who and what their connection was to the main character. Most of the characters felt a little selfish and unlikeable. 

From the first page, I knew that I was not going to like Maddie. She seemed extremely spoiled and entitled. She wasn’t relatable. However, as I kept reading she grew on me a little. She definitely was not my favorite in the novel. 

I enjoyed Gram. She was blunt and could be classified as the Cool Grandma . She brought a little extra something to the table, and she stood out the most to me. I actually chuckled at some of her dialogue. I missed her when she was not in scenes. 

Another character that I enjoyed was Rachel. She is Maddie’s former best friend, who she only hangs out with in private. She was rarely in the book, but she made a lasting expression. 

I think the most important relationship was between Gram and Maddie. Maddie was the most tolerable when she was with her grandmother. And I thought their relationship was the most developed. Every other relationship Maddie had- including romance and friendships- fell flat. 

The romance was kind of insta-love and boring. Maddie and Enzo were okay. I did not feel a connection, and their scenes were kind of dry. He seemed like a sweet kid but I felt like I did not entirely know him. I would have liked if that romance was dialed back a little and more focused had been brought on Maddie and her family. It would have nice to see more family dynamics. 

Final Analysis 

Although intriguing in theory, The Loose Ends List is filled with many unlikeable characters and an unsatisfying romance. If the author had chosen to mainly focus on the family aspect, there would be more perks than cons.