Thursday, May 2, 2013

Life After Life - Book Review

Remember a few years ago when two books were published with the same cover photo? Well, now, two books have been published essentially at the same time with the same name. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is quickly climbing the bestseller lists and is generating plenty of buzz. I wondered if Life After Life by Jill McCorkle would ride the wave from Atkinson's book. It might, but it is certainly able to stand on it's own feet.

I tossed Life After Life by Jill McCorkle aside after 50 pages--not knowing or caring if I would ever come back to it. I rarely don't finish a book but I just couldn't get into it. With multiple characters that I hadn't been especially intrigued by and a unique style, it just felt disconnected. Also, I had recently read a string of books featuring old people (see reviews of There Was An Old Woman, Benediction and coming soon Orphan Train). I'd had enough and apparently needed a break. After I finished reading Call Me Zelda, I was torn about what to start next and Life After Life sat on my night stand glaring at me, daring me not to finish. I hate to leave a book undone so I picked it back up and started reading.

It didn't take long before I was enraptured and intrigued by the characters. Life After Life is about several of the residents that live in Pine Haven Retirement Center and the lives they lead after their "life". The stories begin to weave together and I appreciated the various chapters featuring individual characters so I could see the situation from various perspectives. I appreciate a good character study. People are fascinating and so are the old folks that live in the retirement center and those that visit and care for them.

McCorkle is an excellent, observant writer with a depth of understanding of human nature and human frailty. She threw me for a loop at the ending. It wasn't what I was expecting and I was impressed by her ability to keep it real but also surprise.

While you're shopping for Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, pick up a copy of Life After Life by Jill McCorkle, you certainly won't be sorry. I'm definitely glad I finished reading it.

By the way, some of the characters have dirty mouths.

**I received a complimentary copy of Life After Life in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was received.**

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