About Books #56: The Man You Meet in Heaven

I’m coming to realize I quite like books that verge on magical realism. As a matter of fact, I smell a Weekly List dedicated to nothing but those books coming up. First, though, let’s get into what I though of The Man You Meet in Heaven!

I was offered this ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are strictly my own.

The story

When Hattie Green pops to the shop one afternoon, she never expects her life to flash before her eyes between the tins of baked beans and a special offer on sliced white. One minute she’s loading her trolley and thinking about what to give her son for dinner, and the next she’s speaking to a gorgeous man in a glowing white suit about what her life could have been…

If you had the chance to go back and relive it all, what would you do differently? Go on that date, take that promotion… eat that second biscuit? Hattie is about to discover where she went wrong, but will her mystery second chance reveal some STONKING secrets in her past that probably should have stayed hidden?

The opinion

First things first:  The Man You Meet in Heaven needs a couple of trigger warnings. There’s a fairly vivid description of rape as well as an emotionally abusive and manipulative relationship. The main character is made to relive both of those experiences (although she can opt out and take breaks, but still) and I can imagine that for someone who’s been in a situation like that, those scenes could be extremely triggering. Especially as most of the book is actually taken up by the main character working through some of the things that happened to her.

The way the author has set up that concept of working through those things, however, is in my opinion maybe the best thing about this book. And, you know, completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I wish I could say more about that, but unfortunately, I feel that would be giving away too much of the plot. Instead, I will just repeat: this book was completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. While I saw the “final solution” for the romance-aspect coming from about the fourth chapter, that was about the only thing I actually did anticipate. The entire plot of The Man You Meet in Heaven basically just threw me for a loop time and time again – but in the best possible way.

Together with the fact that there’s so many short chapters that constantly shift between the “Inbetween Place” and Hattie’s past? Together with the narration, which flowed so beautifully? And together with the will they won’t they-aspect that is present almost non-stop? Well, let’s just say I started and finished this book only a couple of hours away from each other. Yes, I flew through the story. I mean, come on – I needed to know what happened next! And more importantly: I wanted everything (thanks to the writing style as well) to work out for Hattie. Oh, and of course: I wanted to see how far this whole “believe the unbelievable” thing would go. Suffice it to say: there’s unicorns at one point. Actual, living unicorns. So, you know 🙂

The rating: 4/5

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Man You Meet in Heaven, even if it was at times not the easiest of reads. As I mentioned already: some pretty hard subjects are touched upon (or shoved in your general direction, depending on who you’re asking). I did feel that the author tried (and succeeded) at handling these with the necessary tact and perspective, though. If not, I don’t think I would’ve been able to get through this book in one sitting. If you’re in the mood for a happy ending, difficult road, fluffy blanket kind of book? You might just find yourself doing the same thing! (Goodreads)

-Saar