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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Goodreads Summary:
Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.
Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?
This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.


An interesting tale of life after death.  Where do we go when we die?  What happens afterward?  This is a book that brings us to Elsewhere, the place we end up after we die.  In this place we age backwards.  We don't stay the same age nor grow any older.  Liz, who is 15 (almost 16) won't ever be 16.  She died before she had the chance to get her license.  Now, she is finding out more about this after-life and what will happen to her.  It takes several months, but Liz finally becomes involved in the community and starts to figure everything out.  Although she is dead, she realizes she can have a life in Elsewhere and experience a few of the things she wanted to experience before.  She also finds out that she connects with dogs in a most interesting fashion. 

This is book made me laugh and cry.  I don't typically cry when reading books, but I think this had a lot to do with the TV show I had watched before finishing the book (that made me cry!).  Anyway, I loved the telling of this story and the after death experience that Zevin pictured for us.  It is a nice thought to imagine life after death this way, but in reality, who knows the details of what happens after death?

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