Publication Date: May 16, 2023
People like Feeney Simms don’t commit suicide. Beautiful, charismatic, mother of two, wife to a handsome, successful husband, beloved by her friends—this is not the typical picture of a tortured soul. But one summer night, Feeney drives to the beach and swallows a handful of pills. No note, no explanation, nothing. Like that, she’s gone.
Faced with this loss, Ali, Max, and Liddy, Feeney’s closest friends, are left reeling, grappling with the devastating cocktail of grief, guilt, and anger that’s left in the wake of a suicide. In a desperate attempt to avoid further loss, the three women make the unorthodox (and very Feeney-like) decision to hold their own funerals while they are still alive—and the experience changes each of them in ways they couldn’t have imagined.
United in friendship for over a decade, four women have weathered multiple challenges. When one makes a fateful choice, it forces the other three to redefine their relationships and question everything.
Ali, Max, and Liddy relive their memories of Feeney with the help of tissues and wine. Their grief, anger, and guilt are evident as the story unfolds with a mixture of past and present. I was hooked from the beginning, alternating between laughter and tears.
Perfect for a poolside read, this story resonates on so many levels. As the characters process the loss of their friend, they pledge to hold their own funerals while still alive. On the surface, that seems rather bizarre, but after Feeney’s, the women are determined to create something real.
There Are No Rules For This hits the mark when it comes to the complexities of longtime friendships and the emptiness that emerges after a devastating loss.
JJ ELLIOTT is a professional copywriter with a degree in English from UCLA. She lost her mother to suicide as a teenager, and spent over two years in her 20’s manning the suicide hotlines in LA. One of the reasons she wrote There Are No Rules For This is because she finds herself increasingly frustrated by the way suicide is treated in print and on-screen, as a mystery to be solved instead of a multi-layered, complex condition that can rarely be boiled down to one specific “reason.”
A native of Northern California, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two teenagers, and two bulldogs.