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
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
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
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)