Life After Life; Jill McCorkle
Algonquin - 2013
Life After Life is a novel about both living and dying. The cast of characters are the residents, staff and even some neighbors near Pine Haven Retirement home in Fulton, NC. Their ages range from 12-85.
Joanna Lamb is a hospice volunteer there who spends her time comforting the dying, as well as journaling their life. Joanna has had her share of life's disappointments and sorrows as well. Looking to make amends with her dying father is what has brought her back to the area. It is through Joanna that we get to know the other characters in this novel.
The focus of the story is about love and loss. It's about the things that happen in life that make us who we are. I enjoyed most of the characters along the way and felt like I got to know them as well. The experience was almost like learning about some of them as a kind of life to death obituary. The characters were very believable, and I enjoyed that the author added humor to many of their life stories as well.
I felt that at times the novel moved a bit too slow, and although I'm not sure how I would have chosen to wrap up this novel, the ending the author created actually made me mad.
Despite my issues with the book, I wanted to share a couple of quotes which really spoke to me -- for these (2) quotes alone made me happy that I read the book, and bumped up my overall rating a bit.
"WE live days and weeks and months and years with so little awareness of life. We wait for the bad things that wake us up and shock our systems. But every now and then, on the most average day, it occurs to you that this is it. This is all there is."
“If a nuclear disaster occurred, and you had to live out those final painful days just stretched out somewhere thinking about your life--This is who I am. This is what I love. This is what I believe--who would you want hearing your whispers? Or perhaps better: Who do you trust to hear your whispers? Whose breath do you want mingled with your own? Whose flesh still warm beside you?”
Have you read this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
(eGalley obtained through NetGalley)