Author: Mikki Brammer
Rating: 5 Stars
Publication Date: May 9th, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction
Format Read: Hardcover
Find the Book: StoryGraph | Goodreads
I am someone who loves talking about death. Not in a morbid or gruesome way, but I think having conversations around this inevitable fact of life takes away some of its power. It is largely considered taboo in Western culture to talk openly about dying, but I think any way we can break this mold is important. In light of that, The Collected Regrets of Clover absolutely blew me away.
The book follows our titular character, Clover, who is a death doula. A death doula is essentially the end of life equivalent to a birth doula: they support folks in letting go at the end of their lives instead of welcoming them into it. Clover has experienced death many times over, both personally and professionally.
She learns of the regrets, unfollowed dreams, and wishes from folks whom she supports in their death and chronicles these in journals to keep the memories and stories alive. She believes that everyone should have someone by their side in death. In her own life, however, Clover is very much an isolated woman. She finds it safer to connect with the dying because she knows that it is ending. Letting other people into her life means risking losing them unexpectedly.
Clover frequently attends death cafes around the city, and at one of these she meets Simon, a man who very clearly wants to get to know her. Clover is terrified of opening up; but what can she take from all of the regrets she has collected from the dying?
In this incredible story of learning to live life, there is pain and heartache and joy and love. Mikki Brammer has perfectly encapsulated what it feels like to finally start branching out after a long isolating life. She will have you crying, laughing and grinning from ear to ear.
If you are someone who feels big feelings, likes talking about topics most people consider off the table, or just loves a good cry, I highly recommend picking this up. This is the best book I have read so far this year, which is a high compliment as I have read a lot of good ones so far!