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YMMV / The Obituary Writer

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  • Evil Is Sexy: In-verse, Claire’s friend Dot comments on how Smythe, the man who abducted and killed Dougie Daniels, is strikingly handsome.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Peter’s disparaging comments about Claire’s pregnancy and become quite painful not only when the baby is killed, but also when it’s revealed that it was indeed Peter’s and not Miles’.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Vivien helping people find solace over their loved ones’ deaths with her obituaries, which focus on what made them unique and beloved, is pretty heartwarming in itself.
    • While it’s one of the novel’s several Tearjerker moments, the final conversation between Vivien and Claire, where she encourages the latter to not waste her “one beautiful life”, manages to be this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The novel begins with the abduction and murder of a child. Which only begins the story’s depressing exploration of Adult Fear.
    • Claire’s sledding accident is full of this. She crashes into a tree, cracks her head, and is quickly ushered to the hospital. In a drug-induced haze, she’s left to wonder about the fate of her baby. And unfortunately, her baby, who turns out to be Peter’s, after all, perishes. All because of a tragically impulsive decision.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-verse, Dougie’s kidnapping and murder is signified as the moment when everyone in Claire’s neighborhood realized they were not as safe as they thought they were.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The novel gets fairly unsubtle about the need to move on from loss, but it’s a necessary moral to get across.
    • There’s also Vivien’s repeated point about how life isn’t about details like the dates of birth and death, but rather what one does with it. Both anvils are covered quite simply in her final conversation with Claire.
    Vivian: I wasted thirteen years hoping he was alive somewhere. Thirteen years holding onto a dream.
    Claire: But shouldn’t we hold onto our dreams?
    Vivian: Not when they keep us from moving forward.

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