Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review: "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson

I have been in kind of a book slump lately, having not read a really good book in a few weeks. Even though I plan to end it if the book I am reading right now is good, it still stunk to be stuck in a reading rut, especially by a book that I had high hope for like Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. It seemed like an easy read after reading a few tough ones recently, but it turned out to be just as boring, leaving me shaking my head as to why this book got the publicity it did, even with a big name author like Kate Atkinson. The premise is cool, but it doesn’t capitalize on the story aspects that would have made it cool, focusing more on side trips into other areas that simply didn’t have the gusto of the central storyline. The cool premise deals with a woman named Ursula who is born at the beginning of the 20th century and keeps on dying and being born again with the knowledge of her quasi-mortality. She succumbs to accidents around the house, drowning, and the great influenza epidemic of the late 1910’s. All the while she is on course toward the great moments in history, with a second sight that help and harm her in her personal and altruistic quests. The big problem with this book is that Ursula is the only concrete character here, with many side characters simply acting around her, which wouldn’t be an issue if they were not given as much time in the story. And some of them are not important to the main story thread, making this book one that has too many characters from a writer who cannot manage them. If it was more cohesive and direct in its approach, like having events play out in clearly similar ways with divergent storylines, it would have been great, but it left me wondering why Atkinson didn’t just publish another Brodie novel.
Rating: 3/5

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