Eudora Honeysett is a heartwarming story about an elderly woman who wishes to die on her own terms. She befriends young Rose who moves in next door and their friendship (as well as that of Stanley, an older gentleman who also lives nearby) impacts everyone’s lives.
There are some triggers in this book; see below for details.
Outwardly, this book seems like a great choice for the childless community due to the tenacious and world-weary protagonist who is childless ‘by chance’ – she never married or had children and as the story unfolds through present-tense shenanigans and past-tense flashbacks we learn that Eudora experienced a number of setbacks which led to her current lonely life.
However, I will offer a word of caution. This book has a cranky, childless protagonist at its heart. She forms an unlikely friendship with her new neighbour, 10-year-old Rose, whose mother is pregnant. There is a significant pronatalist agenda throughout the book with ‘married with kids’ being the gold standard which Eudora never achieved.
I like Eudora. She is portrayed as rather bitter, the product of a life where things never quite went right. I read this book with the childless community in mind and while I was able to relate to much of Eudora’s outlook on life, I found it disappointing that the childless character was typecast as bitter, lonely, regretful and harsh. That’s not a denial that there are women like this out there, but it does play up to the old tropes that never to have borne a child or gotten married is to have failed as a woman.
During World Childless Week this September, I watched a webinar where the discussion turned to intergenerational relationships and if not for this I might have disregarded this book due to the idea that having a child in one’s life is the only thing that can give it meaning. However, the webinar highlighted to me the importance of these friendships and this book is a great example of their benefit.
The writing and story are excellent and I was fully enthralled by it from the beginning. There is a superb cast of loveable characters and it is an emotional, heartwarming and important novel.
There is a somewhat pronatalist agenda through the book with ‘married with kids’ being the gold standard which Eudora never achieved.
Rose’s mother is pregnant and we witness the birth of the child who is present through most of the rest of the book. We also see the birth of Eudora’s younger sister during a flashback. Later on in the book, we learn of the death of a pregnant woman.