Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

It’s the smallest choices that can have the greatest impact.

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson is a beautifully written book that teeters on the edge of excitement. The life of the protagonist, Ursula, is unraveled in a slow and calculated manner. The reader lives Ursula’s disjointed life with her trying to figure out how she dies and yet technically lives. I applaud Kate for being unique in both her story telling and the story line itself but I admit it was difficult at times to be excited about this book. There was nothing to look forward to, no big scene, no big revelation about her strange gift and I think for me it wasn’t the page turner that I thought it would be.  The best part of this book was Ursula. She experiences things that any woman of any time can relate to; not being able to fit in, unhealthy relationships, striving for independence in a world that wants to stereotype you. What I didn’t enjoy about this book was all of the resets. Without giving away too much, Ursula lives many lives in the book and at times it’s hard to understand where she is and what has happened. There is a much deeper issue that Atkinson is exploring within all of Ursula’s lives, what does it mean to really live? What would we change if we could go back? We live our lives constantly wondering what if and Ursula has the ability to go back and relive all of her what if’s.  Overall, Kate Atkinson wrote a lovely story, the characters, the setting it all came to life and I felt a twinge of sadness when it was over. This is a great read for anyone wanting to dive into a story with a strong female protagonist and an early 20th century setting.

Rating: 4/5

Good time and place to read: Perhaps on vacation, when you want something light but still hearty to read.

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