Fiction Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom @bookouture @TracyBBloom

Format: eBook, NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK
Blurb: Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair… 

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990’s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime? 


Review: I’ve never picked up a Tracy Bloom book before, simply because I don’t really read this genre much anymore. And that’s cool, we all have our different tastes but whilst I tend to opt for a disturbing Thriller or a gory Horror, I do like to dip my toes in something different every once in a while. Then when I saw Bookouture announce that The Last Laugh was on NetGalley, it struck me as something I had to read. I loved the cover (I mean, who wouldn’t love that cover?) and it sounded like something I’d hopefully enjoy so off I went to request it. So thank you to Bookouture for accepting me for a copy of this!

The Last Laugh is a simple premise: The main character, Jenny, a mum of two teenagers and a workaholic husband finds out she has cancer. And it’s terminal. On the same day, she finds her husband shagging another woman in his office. So you know, the phrase ‘when it rains it pours’ really does apply to poor Jenny. Instead of telling her husband about her illness or confronting him about his affair, she sets to work with the help of an elderly lady in the care home she works at – Maureen – and an old friend from her past to put on the best, most vibrant party of all.

After being taken to a funeral by Maureen, it got her thinking about her own life and ultimately, the end of it. So, wanting to recapture the fun of her youth that she misses so dearly, bring her family and friends back together again and have the best send off she could hope for – she organises a 1996 themed party with bouncy castles, sumo suits and wonderful food before time starts running out and before she tells her family her life altering news.

Despite this being a book about someone with cancer, it wasn’t a book about someone with cancer. For the majority of the book, the fact that the main character has this awful, terminal illness completely washes over you. It’s a book very much about love, friendship, reminiscing about good times and making new, wonderful memories. There are some awfully poignant paragraphs and messages scattered about this book, some of which definitely got me thinking quite hard. Ultimately, what I came away from this book with, was how important it is to try and have fun. To make memories and be silly. It made me want to dig out my old photo albums and have a good old cry, really.

Jenny herself was a wonderful character – at first, within the first chapter or so, she definitely came across as a bit of a cow but knowing she’s about to go into the hospital to find out her devastating news, you can definitely let her off. Despite everything that happens to her – including finding her husband shagging a blonde work colleague in his office – she is still an incredibly strong, capable and independent women. Which really is a testament to all women who, most of which, battle on vicariously through the hard times in their life. 

I loved all the little elements of her life running through the main story. Her stroppy teenage daughter, a desperately shy and anxious son who’s learning to come into his own, a missing dog, an unsympathetic mum, an absent brother – it was all so… real. I absolutely loved Maureen – her friend from the care home. I always tend to love a no-nonsense, say it how it is, elderly woman in a book. They’re so much fun and a early scene where Jenny tells Maureen she has cancer and Maureen ends up on the floor had me really laughing, which I’m not sure was the intention but Tracy did a great job at injecting some humor all the way through a book which could have potentially been very dark.

The only slight niggle I had was the ending – I was a bit stumped when I turned the last page and realised there wasn’t any more. I felt the ending was a little abrupt and unfinished. I wanted to know what happened to Jenny going forwards. I wanted to know about her funeral and how her family was coping. But that might just be me, being morbid. And I suppose it would have made the book too long had all that been added in. Saying that, I kinda like that Tracy has essentially left it up to us to decide what happens next.

I never wanted this book to end which is incredibly ironic given the entire book is about the main characters life coming to an end. It’s heart-breakingly poetic really. A delightful, yet emotional book which will make you laugh, cry and think about your life in ways that maybe you hadn’t done before. It reminds you to cherish the moment and cherish those with you in that moment as well.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t wanna mention this part among my review in case someone didn’t want to know this bit of information but I also wanted to add that the main character has Cervical Cancer (which has spread) so I really, desperately hope this will encourage some readers to book their smear tests, if they’re due for one. 

Jenny in Neverland

Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

39 Comments

  1. This honestly sounds amazing. I have kind of ‘gone off’ this genre of book but this actually sounds unique, heartwarming and bittersweet and I feel like I need to read it immediately. You review books so beautifully that I’m always intrigued by them, but this in particular is one I will definitely, without a doubt, be reading.
    Beth x

    1. Thanks so much! I’ve also gone off thing kind of book as I’ve got older xxx

  2. Another great review, that’s another one added to my list xx

    Jamie | http://www.jamies-corner.com

  3. you always have such good taste in books! This sounds really good

  4. Can’t wait to delve in to this next, sounds a good read and apt for the “smear campaign” that ran last week so thumbs up for mentioning that

    1. Yeah absolutely, that’s why I had to mention it! xxx

  5. akjmusicblog says:

    I do love a bit of Women’s Fiction! This book sounds so interesting and a real page-turner, it will definitely be on my book list to buy/ask for.

    Amy | hookedonthemusic.com

    1. It was really good! Hope you enjoy xxx

  6. Lisa's Notebook says:

    This isn’t my type of book either but it’s very topical isn’t it? I mean with cervical cancer and the #smearforsmear campaign going on. Not that I’m implying that’s why the author wrote it of course! I think the word I’m looking for is serendipity? Great review, Jenny, really detailed and informative as always xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

    1. Yeah I agree it’s very topical and I was surprised to read that that was the type of cancer the character had as you don’t often read about it in books xx

  7. Kirstie says:

    This isn’t the type of book I would usually read, however, your review has definitely intrigued me! I may have to grab a copy when it is released.

    Thanks for this review!

    xox

    1. Me neither but I really loved it, you’re welcome xxx

  8. I really like the sound of this. Thanks for reviewing. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Marjorie! It was really good xxx

  9. Hello Bexa says:

    I wouldn’t normally pick up this kinda book but after reading your review I think I might actually like it. Thank you for the detailed and helpful review Jenny, it’s being added to my wish list now! 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. You’re welcome and thank you! It’s nice to step out your comfort zone with reading every once in a while xxx

  10. Lena Dee says:

    I must say this was a lovely review! The books sounds interesting and I find it funny that you’re reading a a book about a character called Jenny tehe 😂 you captured the books element quite well! Great post!

    xx Lena | https://lenadeexo.com

    1. Shame about book Jenny’s circumstances though but I always love reading about a character with the same name as me haha xxx

  11. Hey, Jenny. Hope you’re well, hun. This is a good review and I’d definitely add it onto my TBR list. Thank you for sharing and happy new year! 🙂 x

    1. Thank you, Happy New Year to you too xxx

  12. This sounds great and the sort of book I would enjoy reading will add it to my to read list for sure. Thanks for sharing such a great review 😃

    Melanie | http://www.frasersfunhouse.com

    1. Thank you (: xx

  13. Oh this sounds an incredible read. I haven’t heard of the author before, but will definitely be checking this out! Thanks for the lovely review!

    1. Oooh really? Hope you enjoy! xxx

  14. I was sold at the blurb but man this review has just made me want to add to my to read list and honestly it’s massive and I’m such a slow reader!

    Jessica & James | http://www.foodandbaker.co.uk / http://www.foodandbakertravels.co.uk

    1. Haha whoops! Nevermind it’s not a race (: xxx

  15. Great review Jenny! I haven’t heard of the author before but the cover is eye catching and defiant something I would pick up. Sounds like a good story I love the idea of reliving the 90s for the day! Will have to add this to my reading list thanks for the recommendation x

    1. I’d love to relive another year for a day too! xxx

  16. Corinne and Kirsty says:

    This is not a book I would naturally go for either but it is great that you made me discover it! I am always look for new books to read!Thanks for the review! xx corinne

    1. Thank you xxx

  17. This sounds like such a lovely read. Thank you for sharing 🌸💜✨

    With love, Alisha Valerie. x
    http://www.alishavalerie.com | http://www.twitter.com/alishavalerie

    1. Thank you, it was xxx

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  19. This sounds like such a lovely book! I love stepping out of the genre I usually read every once in a while too! Xx

    1. Oh definitely! I think it’s important we do (: xx

  20. I love books like this! Defo gonna get my hands on this one for my kindle!

    1. It’s out in Feb so not long (: xx

  21. Your reviews are not good for my bank balance! Love the sound of this book though!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

    1. Whoops sorry! xxx

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