The Last Word: A Spellman Novel by Lisa Lutz (3 out of 5)
Well, there are so many ways to go with this review. An amount of sadness because the title refers to Izzy’s last stand. I can’t say more than that without giving away more of what happens and what unfurls at the end. I am actually glad that it ended how it did, but I am always bereft when the character of my dreams finds another avenue to explore. Cryptic? Not enough.
Seriously, though, I had a hard time getting through this book. Lillian and I have both read all of them, and I used to look forward to the new one every year while working at Bibles-A-Zillion. This was no different. I ordered it in, bought it, and then left it for vacation. Of course, now that I’m “back”, I begin reading it. I had started reading it at work on break, but then had to keep putting it down, because it didn’t grab me. I set it on the chair at home, and I kept reading Bones fanfiction, instead of laughing myself to death and finishing this book. Not sure why it took me so long to get into it, but finally, I got into it and finished it this morning. If you have not read the previous Spellman books, do so. Don’t start here without reading the others in order, because you’ll be as lost as Kardashian at a K-Mart.
Izzy Spellman now officially owns Spellman investigations. Her parents, the hilarious Albert and Olivia, are nowhere near as involved as they used to be, preferring to wear lounging pajamas to ‘company meetings’ (quotes because like all things Spellman, the meetings are unorthodox and no sense of order is maintained, much less set to begin with) and lying in bed watching bad TV. Their livelihood has basically been taken over by Izzy, so they essentially are phoning it in. Demetrius, definitely the highlight of the last two books, continues to punch his timecard and do his job, albeit with little or no enthusiasm. Viv still tries to do her part, and Rae is around to throw things into a tizzy, as usual. There is an air of sadness around this book. The family is just not together in their usual, zany way. Izzy has a new benefactor who has Alzheimer’s but is attempting to help her. She ends up trying to help him figure out who’s out to ruin him, and in the process comes to a few conclusions. The biggest reveal is that she can’t treat her family like ding-dongs and expect them to treat her and the business with respect. That in itself is a little sad, because I never would have thought Izzy would head in that direction. Her family isn’t the true definition of dysfunction, but they definitely are not the true definition of clockwork either.
The side story of Izzy’s benefactor is a little unsettling. I just didn’t have a lot of sympathy or care involved with the character. I know, I’m a horrible human being because he has Alzheimer’s, but there’s something standoffish and off about the character. Throw in Henry, Izzy’s ex who’s going to be a dad with his current girlfriend, and you see the somewhat lovelorn Izzy back in the house. It doesn’t last long, however. I really didn’t want to see Henry, something about him moving on without Izzy pissed me off. Although- it’s reality, and that’s what this “last word” Spellman book is about. But who really gets the last word? Izzy? Albert and Olivia? David and Maggie? Rae and her new sidekick, Princess Banana(Sydney, David and Maggie’s hellion 3 year old daughter)? Or is it because the curtain is closing on Izzy’s involvement and narration with the series? The fact that the wrap-up of the book itself is Rae, and not Izzy, gives you reason to believe that Rae’s involvement is just beginning. I like to believe that Izzy has passed the torch onto Rae.
What did I wish for more of? Demetrius. Always more D. I also would have liked to see more Rae, despite the fact that the character just graduated from college and seems to want to head into a newer direction. Overall, I miss the camaraderie between the Spellmans. For as much as they bitch, backstab, distract, and drive each other insane on a daily basis, there was general love and respect through all the books. It’s missing here, and that’s what makes me sad. Maybe Izzy needs to move on so the series can get a dose of new life. I hope that means Rae. I love the series, I love the family, and I hope she finds a way to keep the Spellman Magical Lamp lit.