Life After Life

Life After Life

Life After Life appears to be a WWII book about a lady who relives her life ad nauseum for some reason.  It is written by Kate Atkinson.
The premise sounded interesting, and the title is great.
I stopped on page 25 as the young mother of our main character is discussing flowers with a house cook. The book opens well enough with a scene in a smoky 1940’s bar. After that, the main character dies, is born, then quickly dies, and is born again. Up until that part I was going strong but, after the birth in which she survives, there’s nothing going on to draw my interest. The characters seem boring, the main character is a baby, and the most fascinating thing anyone talks about is flowers or how much they dislike another of the boring characters.
Honestly I think I quit mostly because of the prospect of reading this person’s entire tedious childhood before anything cool happens (Remember that part in the bible where they talk all about how Jesus grows up and all the life lessons he learns? Yeah, there’s a reason he goes from zero to 12 to 30…).
It starts with three epigraphs, which seems like a bit much, but they’re all related to the premise so whatever. The opening scene is engaging and interesting, and the author only reveals once it’s almost over that she’s interacting with Hitler and Eva Braun. That said, there are some pronoun problems when discerning between our main character and Eva. The ‘She’s cause a bit of muddling; I had to reread a few times. The author lacks an effective hook, and we don’t get a chance to know the cool main character who shot Hitler before she is made a baby and other, bland people take over to talk about foliage.
If I had to select a fix for this book, I would have continued to narrate from the main character’s perspective ala the first scene. By taking away the only character we have connected with, we’re essentially starting over, and nobody in this book is going to be more interesting that the person who lives over and over again; heck, the title and epigraphs all allude to that quality!

It’s a promising premise, and it has a strong first section, but it quickly loses steam. Shame, I had high hopes for this one, too.


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