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Jessica Waite

The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards |Jessica Waite

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Jessica Waite’s world is turned upside down when her beloved and seemingly flawless husband, Sean, unexpectedly passes away at a Houston airport on his return from a business trip. From being a wife in the morning, Jessica finds herself a widow and the only parent to their nine-year-old son by noon. The day following Sean’s funeral, Jessica uncovers a trove of his hidden vices within a box of his personal items—ranging from drug addiction and reckless spending to affairs and an extensive collection of pornography.

As she grapples with her profound grief, Jessica shields her son from these dark truths while attempting to purge Sean’s presence from her life. She cleanses their bedroom of his possessions, symbolically grants herself a “divorce,” and devises a plan for revenge to be executed on Christmas Eve. However, inexplicable occurrences and seemingly supernatural signs begin to lead her toward a path of forgiveness, compelling Jessica to face a critical decision: linger in the shadows of her shattered past or open her heart to a reevaluation of her judgments?

Written with dark humour in the vein of Liz Feldman’s series Dead to Me and Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died, The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards is a searing and hilarious memoir that asks the question: Does death signify the end of a relationship, or can there be an afterlife epilogue?


About Jessica Waite

Jessica Waite is the recipient of the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award and her stories have been featured in several publications, including Geist magazine and Prism International. Her essays and short fiction have been anthologized in print publications in the US, UK, and Canada. She lives with her teenage son in Calgary, Alberta, on the ancestral lands of the people of Treaty 7.

“Shock, anger, and revenge propel [Waite] through all the stages of grief in a rollicking seesaw of raw emotion until she finally arrives at acceptance. Forgiveness is at the heart of this memoir, but the way she gets there—plucking wisdom from the ashes of her revenge fantasies—is deliciously funny. Multi-layered and brilliantly written, this book is a tour de force!”
— PLUM JOHNSON, award-winning author of They Left Us Everything


“Horrifying and yet compulsive . . . a memoir that reads like a whodunit. Waite’s intelligence and sincerity, as she ricochets between revenge and forgiveness, lifts this book above its sordid details into a compelling guide to re-inventing oneself after the devastating loss of a spouse.” — SANDRA MARTIN, award-winning author of A Good Death.

“Has everything a memoir should: immediacy, detail, reflection, and heart. Humorous and tender, surprising and smart, it’s unlike anything I’ve read about marriage, grief, and reconciliation on the other side. Imagine Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Kimberly Harrington’s But You Seemed So Happy, with a touch of Jo Ann Beard.”
— ALI BRYAN, award-winning author of Takedown and The Figgs


“Jessica Waite is a lavishly gifted writer with a riveting tale to tell. The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards is a page-turning psychological mystery, an inspiring story of endurance, a guide to healing and redemption—and it’s all true. Treat yourself to this book when you’re in the mood for a fascinating, funny, thought-provoking, and inspiring read.”
— MARTHA BECK, bestselling author of The Way of Integrity (Oprah’s Book Club)


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