Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she’d kept an eye on her sister, if only she’d sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only…
Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula’s ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.
But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.
How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed Optimists Die First while I was reading it. When I came to writing my review somebody raised a question about Petula’s anxiety and it stumped me. It also suddenly made me reconsider the book I’d been reading, because truthfully while I was reading Optimists Die First I never thought of Petula as somebody debilitated by anxiety. It’s a conundrum that I’m still stuck in.
I liked Petula, I enjoyed the story and the writing. I am both a pessimist and someone who deals with anxiety (from panic attacks to struggling to go places or interact with people), yet to me anxiety and pessimism are not the same thing. So assuming the worst-case scenario or preparing for all eventualities makes sense in my world. It is not the same as what happens when my anxiety takes hold.
This leaves me with this – if it’s a book focused on anxiety you are after, this one probably isn’t the right fit.
Optimists Die First is an entertaining read. It has cat theatre, likeable characters, emotional depth, a sweet love story and crafting. Petula’s narration is great, I pretty much adored her from the start and yes there are some serious issues that get touched upon in this book.
Overall though, I think Optimists Die First looks more for the light than the dark, and that can be just the kind of read you need.
Are you a doomed optimist or a wise pessimist?
Take the quiz here -> www.andersenpress.co.uk/OptimistsQuiz/