Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Book:  Life After Life 

Author:  Kate Atkinson

Grade:  B - 

Recommended To:  Philosophers. 

I got this book at the library and I am continually amazed at the selection of new books that are available at the library.  In Chicago, I was on the waiting list for popular books for months and Downers Grove has lots of new and popular books available all the time.

It is hard to describe Life After Life, which is probably why the dustcover did such a poor job.  This is a book about Ursula, a girl who is reincarnated over and over again.  In each life, she gets flashes of deja vu, although she cannot remember specific events from a past life, and these flashes occasionally encourage her to take a different course.

This book was a lot like Groundhog Day without Bill Murray, unfortunately.  Ursula is born over and over again and then lives her life in approximately the same way with minor changes.  For example, in the first story, she is raped by a friend of her brothers, this results in some of the most violent scenes of the book, which I believe were well done.  After one of those violent scenes, she dies, and then in the next life, she has deja vu and fights off the brother's friend, thus changing the course of her life for good.

This book is conceptually interesting and is a fantastic pick for a book club that actually reads and discusses books.  My book club does not do this, but sometimes we try.  This month is The Tiger's Wife; if I finish it, I will let you know if we discussed it.

This book is thought provoking.  What would happen if certain things in my life had gone differently.  Or, what would happen if I had a chance to do things over again.  I do not typically read books that require a lot of thought, but this book was compelling.  The one complaint I have about this book was the length.  It took Ursula a long time to get to her ultimate goal, which is revealed in the first chapter, but does not come full circle until the very end.

Happy Reading!

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