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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Book Review - Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

I really enjoyed this book. The premise is quite different to most novels, the main character, Ursula Todd, dies and is born over and over again. But do not be fooled by my description, it is not science fiction, it is not a ghost story, rather it is a story of second chances.

The story begins at the beginning of the 1900's and moves through WWI and WWII. Ursula is the third of five children in her upper middle class English family. Ursula comes into the world one cold and snowy winters day, the cord is around her neck she is dead. Ursula comes into the world one cold and snowy winters day, the doctor has made it to the house he snips the cord around her neck she lives. Throughout the book Ursula is born into the world one cold and snowy winters day, each time the telling is a little different, did Ursula herself manipulate the changes? This is something I have pondered upon since finishing the book.

Ursula lives many versions of her life, most are very similar versions, yet each version is different. Sometimes her life gets so awful you are glad she is able to die and essentially start from the beginning again. We are never quite sure how much Ursula realizes she is living and dying the same life over and over, except there is an awareness that she is different, felt even by those around her, particularly her mother and father. In one life she visits a psychiatrist, in another she has sort of deja-vu moments and takes decisive action to change the course of events.

The big take away for me is that no matter what choices we make in life and the consequences that occur because of those choices, life is not perfect, bad things happen, people die unexpectedly, good things happen, our only choice is how we chose to cope with the life that happens to us. Ultimately I think it is a very positive message, we are here, we should do our best to live our best life and that is really all anyone can do.

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Peace be with you,


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