Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

October 3, 2014 Audio Books, Historical Fiction, Time Travel 34

Well Hello my Lovely Bookworms,

I’ve been spending a good amount of time multi-tasking lately and utilizing the glory of the audio book. Last year Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was ALL the rage, and I, as per usual, missed out on it. I decided to play catch up when I saw this was available through my library’s digital audio offerings, and it was a wise decision.

lifeafterlifeWho out there likes Bill Murray? I suppose the more telling question would be who DOESN’T like Bill Murray, but I digress. Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies. I first saw it on an airplane ride to a fun family vacation, can you blame me? The premise of the movie is that Bill Murray keeps living the same day over and over and over again until he gets it right. My husband is a huge nerd on the subject and he saw somewhere that the creators estimate that for Bill Murray’s character to have acquired all the skills he did he was likely living the same day for somewhere in the neighborhood of TEN THOUSAND years. Crazy right? Why am I rambling though?

Life After Life is about a woman named Ursula. Instead of living a single day over and over again, she lives her whole life. Some of those lives aren’t particularly long, though. I mean, she’s strangled by her umbilical cord at least once. And YOU try escaping the Spanish Flu. It is NOT as easy as it sounds. If you manage to avoid the flu, though, good luck surviving the London bombings during WWII. The universe isn’t particularly kind to any of the Ursulas. Just when you think she’s finally gotten it right, though, you’re hit with a bit of an ambiguous ending. And so it goes.

I thought this book was very good. The only thing that hampered my enjoyment slightly was that the narrator insisted on saying “et” instead of “ate.” That, and she really wasn’t particularly good at American accents so the couple of times one popped up they sounded funny to me. Of course, it’s not as though I could do any better. I’m sure my British accent is downright offensive in its clownishness. I’d recommend Life After Life to those who enjoy literary fiction AND time travel type novels. A little bit o’ metaphysical mystery is going on and it’s quite the ride.

Alright Bookworms, talk to me. If you had to live one day of your life over and over again, which one would you choose?

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34 Responses to “Life After Life by Kate Atkinson”

  1. Amy @ Read a Latte

    I missed this last year too, and I’m realizing that books I missed last year have been some of my favorite THIS year. Life After Life always looked good to me but the length and the time travel throw me off a little.

    • Words For Worms

      It is a bit jarring the different paths the lives take. I almost wished I’d read it as opposed to listening because I found myself wanting to flip around a bit…

  2. ThatAshGirl

    I’m loving the sound of this.

    I don’t know about a specific day. I could pick like a year or so. And it would have been the first year I lived on my own.

    @Chrissy I totally wouldn’t want to re-live all the lives because seriously, I could do without ages 10-15. How bout we not have a re-do on those?

    • Words For Worms

      Hahaha! I know, right? I don’t want to do middle school again! I mean, that’s where I met my BFF, but it’s sheer luck that she’ll still associate with my. I was the WORST, I tell you! So. Much. Drama.

  3. Charleen

    Yeah, that ambiguous ending really messed me up. I don’t even remember the details, I just remember thinking… wait, what was the point of all this? And then I threw it across the room. (Okay, not really, but I did give it 1 star. So, the less-chance-of-breaking-things equivalent of throwing a book across the room.)

    And I have no idea what day I’d pick to live over and over. Maybe just an average day where I’m by myself most of the time… think of all the reading and Netflix-bingeing I could do!!!

  4. Elizabeth

    I loved, loved, loved this book. I’m sure the audiobook format was different though, because I read it in print and flipped back and forth when I was confused. The audiobook would make me just push forward and experience some disorientation, which was probably intended. So if I live my life over and over again, then in least one of the lives I’ll be sure to experience Life after Life as an audiobook.

  5. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    The part of this book that still stands out the most for me is where it is focused on the London bombings – those were just relentless. I can’t imagine living it, you know? Glad you enjoyed this.

    I’m not sure if there’s a day I’d want to live over and over again… Hmmm.

    • Words For Worms

      Oh my gosh, YES! I don’t think I realized just how relentless they were before this book. I mean, every single night. Sleeping in a shelter. It’s mind boggling!

  6. Jennine G.

    Another time travel book that has more detail and story to it is The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. I really recommend it if you liked this one.

  7. Sarah @ Sarah's Book Shelves

    I’ve heard so much about this book, but never picked it up because I read an earlier book of hers that I didn’t like so much. But, the premise of this sounds interesting. Accents in audiobooks can totally make or break things!

  8. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Will anyone ever forgive me if I confess I’m not wild about Bill Murray? I don’t have anything against him, but I just don’t find him particularly interesting as an actor. But Groundhog Day is awesome!!

  9. AMB

    I was really impressed by this book, but it was a little too grim and tedious for me to count it among my favorite reads last year. I thought its portrayal of gender-based violence was interesting and thought-provoking. It made me think about the controversial topic of whether victims should fight back and archaic resistance requirement in rape laws (a subject I wrote about on my blog in April 2013).

    • Words For Worms

      It was extremely grim. Poor Ursula never really got the whole happiness thing no matter how many times she tried. I think the rape life was the hardest for me to get through. I was unaware that there was a resistance requirement in rape laws- why is that even a thing?! Gah!

  10. Isi

    Sorry for commenting a bit late in this review, but I was interested because I purchased the book in English 🙂 Now that I know the audiobook exists, I’ll try to read and listen to it at the same time, which makes me learn more!

    First of all: Spanish Flu wasn’t Spanish at all!

    That cleared, I think it’s a book I’ll enjoy. I’ve read a ton of reviews by now, and that’s why I ordered it here. Now I have to find time to read it!

    • Words For Worms

      Awww Isi! You’re right, the Spanish Flu wasn’t Spanish. An unfortunate moniker. Though, it could be worse. Syphilis was often referred to as “French Pox.” At least the flu is a respectable ailment :).

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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