Book Reviews

The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards

By Jessica Waite (A memoir).

Let’s face it – how could you NOT pick up a book with a title like that?

I was in the middle of reading two ARC’s (Advance Reader Copies)– both interesting and engaging – and then…“The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards” arrived in my mailbox and it was a spine that needed to be cracked.

Author Jessica Waite, who I’d be happy to befriend for the sheer joy of revelling in her wry humour, razor-edged honesty, and ability to ride a roller coaster of emotions that would crush a lesser person, is thrown head and heart into the tumultuous aftermath of  the shocking and unexpected death of her husband, (of 17 years), Sean, an event that occured when he was away in Houston on a business trip.

And while losing a partner is always difficult, it is the discovering of all of Sean’s dirty, not-so-little- secrets that throws Waite into the abyss.

Using Sean’s iPad to search for Houston hospitals, Waite gets as far as typing in H-O- (for hospitals) and the field self-populates: “Houston escorts.”

As she splits herself in two- a mother consoling her and Sean’s nine-year-old son, Dash —Waite is also dealing with the shock, anger, resentment, rage, and revenge that manifests as a roller coaster of push-pull emotions — a journey full of rancour — and grief.

“Part of me always believed we’d be together again, somehow, after we died – until his betrayal felt so unforgiveable it made me never want to see him again. Not in heaven, not in hell, not in my dreams. Nowhere,” Waite says.

As I agonized with Waite through the many betrayals of Sean, it was in delicious agreement that I nodded my head when Waite said: “But forgive and forget is bullshit.”

And dammit – while it might not be her finest moment, the scene with Sean’s cremated remains and a semi frozen pile of dog shit, “Piece of shit is as piece of shit does,” is a well-deserved and executed moment of “so there” revenge.

That being said, Waite doesn’t stay stuck in the negativity of what is an impossible situation. She recognizes and openly discusses the challenges of Sean’s mental health and his bipolar condition, and from there she is able to move painfully forward toward a course of acceptance, one that includes several brutally honest sessions with a counsellor. Cracking through the hard shell of her anger, Waite’s acknowledgement is blunt and succinct.

“What a breakthrough. A different flavor of bile.”

Resolving to shield Dash from the man that Sean was when he wasn’t being a good father – which he was- as well as a decent provider for his family, Waite begins her journey of recovery by taking a series of steps to erase Sean from her life.

Make no mistake —within all of this sorrow and grief – Waite loves the man she thought she knew — and she respects the many happy times they had together.

This is not a memoir full of unbridled revenge with no hope or redemption — although admittedly “The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards,” certainly has several moments of lowness, (albeit funny ones), including Waite’s curated “FUSW” playlist. However, the author’s journey does become a touchpoint of spiritual awareness for her as to what the Universe gifts her with, including comfort and solace, as she deals with Sean’s infidelity, financial distress, grief and anger, as well as some well-deserved karma payback for the snooty entitled Rebekah.

An ode to you never know what’s going to happen when you walk out your front door in the morning, “The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards,” offers a painful, but at the same time on-point, damn fine dissertation on the old adage, “you never know what goes on behind closed doors.”

A memoir that reads like a psychological thriller “The Widow’s Guide” is stunningly humourous and compelling, a pilgrimage that battles with the act of forgiveness in the middle of a love story forever altered.

Preorder your copy of “The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards” (pub date July 30, 2024), at your favourite book store – don’t forget your local independent book stores, including


Creative Aging Books & Ideas presents an award-winning collection of authors

this Spring.

                Thursday, April 25 at 2 p.m.

Marina Sonkina, author of “Ukrainian Portraits: Diaries from the Border;”  will be reading from her new book. You can read my review here:

Cece reviews: Ukrainian Portraits: Diaries from the Border –

And sign up for the Free Zoom link here:

Meeting Registration – Zoom

                                       And, on Thursday, May 30, 2 p.m.

Canada’s own mystery maestro, William Deverell, will be reading from his new book, “The Long-Shot Trial.”

Sign up for these spectacular interactive author events here:

Creative Aging Books & Ideas 2024 Author Events –


Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications both in print and online, and an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at Her first book, The Love Story, was published in 2019. Her books, “Nunzio Tumino: A Pocketful of Dreams: An Immigrant’s Journey,” and “Helping People One Hand At A Time” are both available on
Cece is also working on a book of Daily Inspirations, “My Body Parts Are On Recall But I’ve Still Got Gas in my Tank,” for AutoImmune Warriors.