Christine Bacon’s comfortable marriage is about to implode — along with her insides. After almost two decades together, Richard wants to “spice things up” . . . by inviting a busty Brit into the bedroom. Humiliated by his antics, Christine realizes she and her husband have little left in common — and though she tries to minimize the damage to their two teen daughters, it won’t be easy wriggling out of this mess.
But impending divorce isn’t all that’s paining Christine. A “veteran hypochondriac,” every twinge or ache seems a harbinger of death. Convinced she’s suffering from kidney failure, Alzheimer’s or ALS, Christine researches every pain through the hypochondriac’s crack: WebMD. To the chagrin of fellow teacher friends, the only dates Chris seems to be making are with her doctor — where she discovers she is, of course, fine. Physically, anyway. And when Christine puts out her first romantic feelers post-divorce, she has to start choosing to really live . . . as dangerous as it can be.
Tracy H. Tucker’s I Kill Me: Tales of a Jilted Hypochondriac is funny and compulsively readable. Well-written and engaging, Tucker’s quick read had me hooked after perusing the cringe-worthy first chapter. Since I’ve been in the mood for light reading, I Kill Me arrived at just the right time.
The star of Tucker’s show is undoubtedly narrator Christine. I bonded with her immediately, seeing traces of myself in her worried self-exams and frenzied research. Though Chris’ constant anxiety can get taxing, I still found it — and her — endearing. It was obvious her fears were manifesting as health problems because believing she had those issues was something she could control . . . in a way. Until it all began to control her.
Ex-husband Richard is the story’s biggest tool — and someone I wanted to kick. You know, if I condoned violence (which I don’t) — and he was actually a real person. A middle-aged stereotype, Richard is a dude who trades in his “aging” wife for a newer model — one with a smaller brain and larger bra size. Tucker writes him well, though, and when he could have become a cardboard cut-out to revile? Well, I guess we learn forgiveness. Very slowly. Like Christine.
Eh, I feel like I’m not doing this story justice, y’all — because really? It’s funny. Very funny. Funny in a I-know-a-woman-just-like-this way. Funny in a sometimes-I’m-just-like-this way. Humorous in a realistic way, a life-affirming way. Christine is someone to empathize with, a character to root for. She’s not perfect and, like any good friend, can grate on your nerves — but at the end of the day, you still love her. You’re not sure where you would be without her. And you learn to live with her quirks because they’re just so her.
That’s how I felt while reading I Kill Me, a novel previously agented under another title. Tucker’s book is the reason I never blanket ignore self-published works. This small gem worked for me, and I raced through it on days I was otherwise frantic with holiday shopping mania. Fans of women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, post-divorce recovery novels (is that a thing?) and picking-the-pieces-up narratives will find plenty to enjoy in I Kill Me. No prescription necessary.
4 out of 5!