ARC Review: How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson

Title: How Lulu Lost Her Mind

Author: Rachel Gibson

Page Length: 336

Publication Date: May 19, 2020

Publisher: Gallery Books

Synopsis: Lou Ann Hunter’s mother, Patricia, has always had a passionate nature, which explains why she’s been married and divorced five times and spooned enough male patients to be ousted from three elderly care facilities. She also has Alzheimer’s, which is why she wants to spend her remaining months or years surrounded by memories at her family’s decrepit old plantation in Louisiana with her only daughter.

Lou Ann, a.k.a. Lulu the Love Guru, has built an empire preaching sex, love, and relationship advice to the women of America—mostly by defying the example her mother has set for her. But with her mother suddenly in need of a fulltime caretaker, Lou Ann reluctantly agrees to step out of the spotlight and indulge her mother’s wishes, even if it means trading in her Louboutins and Chanel No. 5 for boots and mosquito repellant.

Upon arrival at Sutton Hall, Lou Ann discovers that very little functions at it should, least of all her mother’s mind. She is haunted not only by creaky floorboards and things that go bump in the night, but also by the living ghost sleeping downstairs. Every good day Patricia and Lou Ann have treasure hunting in the attic seems to be followed by two days of meltdowns and cold shoulders. And as Lou Ann adjusts to this new and inevitably temporary dynamic, she is forced to confront the fact that her mother’s fate is completely out of her hands—and the end may be coming quicker than she even thought possible.

Heartrending at times and laugh-out-loud funny at others, How Lulu Lost Her Mind is the book for anyone whose mom has ever made them cry—whether tears of joy, regret, frustration, love, or all of the above. Fans of Emily Giffin, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis won’t be able to forget it.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


My Review:

How Lulu Lost Her Mind is a heart-felt homage to mothers and daughters.  Lou Ann (Lulu) is forced to put her booming business in the hands of others so that she can care for her ailing mother Patricia. 

Patricia, a passionate spitfire. She is also an unmistakable flirt. She kind of reminds me of an older Blanche Deveraux (from The Golden Girls), except Patricia has been evicted from her third elderly care facility. Now, she wants nothing more than to return to her beloved plantation home in Louisiana to spend her final days. 

Lulu is not very enthusiastic about returning to Louisiana and the decrepit plantation. She is also reluctant to make the transition from successful businesswoman to elderly caretaker, but with the help of a live-in nurse Lulu determines to care for her mother during the last months of her Patricia’s life.

This is a wonderfully developed and engaging story about realistic subjects and conflicts.  I think many readers will relate to the realities that Lulu has to face – dealing with tensions and resentments from the past, caring for an aging and ailing parent,  making personal sacrifices to help others, embracing the present, taking emotional risks, and cherishing the limited time you have with people you care about. 

This is the kind of book that makes you feel all the feels.  Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, and the author does not gloss over the heartbreak that comes with losing someone to it.  However, Gibson’s skillful inclusion of dynamic and relatable characters, richly described settings, humorous scenes, witty banter, and a slow-burning love story show the beauty and the joy of life as well, even in times of turmoil and grief.

I often say that hardest thing about getting older isn’t aging, it’s watching your parents age.  This novel puts into words the love and heartbreak, the fear and the worry, and the guilty selflessness that comes with taking care of an ailing parent. 

A sweet and tender tribute to mothers and daughters, this poignant story will remain with you long after you finish it.    


Rating:

Favorite Parts:

  • Lulu’s character growth. I think she learned a lot about life, love, and what is most important to her. She has a great character arc.
  • The poignant and powerful themes about mothers and daughters.
  • The love story. I’m always a sucker for a good love story. In this piece, it is a nice distraction.

Recommendations:

Readers who enjoy women’s literature or stories about family relationships will enjoy this story.

6 thoughts on “ARC Review: How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson

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