Annie Freeman is dead. She died of cancer at age 56 after rising from a teenage suicide attempt to live life on her own terms...dancing, she would say. Annie meticulously made plans for five friends who didn't know each other to scatter her ashes in six locations across the US. She sent invitations (more like directives!) and pre-paid the plane tickets, hotels, meals, and drinks at two bars per stop. And to Katherine, who found her, she sent her beloved red tennis shoes, filled with her ashes.
They didn't know each other, but left kids, husbands, dying mothers and patients, work, and leftover grief to pay tribute to Annie, and discover more about her, themselves, and each other. A special person in Annie's life was at each destination to shed more light on her life, and life and living in general. The experience changed the women, their families, and strangers in airports and across several states.
Though overwritten and approaching maudlin, the story offers a fresh look at the enduring influence of friendship. The writing is another matter. A subtitle might read: Story in need of an editor.
Better an elegant small book than the author's streams of pedestrian platitudes and predictable similes.
This report prepared by Shery French