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This Body

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  341 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Katharine Ashley is a dutiful, middle-aged mother of two who experiences sudden heart failure. Thisby is a rich and skinny young woman whose dangerous taste for drugs and men leads to her an equally untimely death. When, somewhere in the transom between this world and the next, Katharines wandering soul enters Thisbys lifeless body, the story begins.
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published September 26th 2009 by Little Brown & Co (T) (first published 1998)
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Jul 13, 2007 Daylight rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books where I love it so much it's seriously extremely difficult to try to explain why. Because I can't. I don't have the vocabulary to describe how much I loved it, or how brilliant I believe it to be.

And I adore the way she weaves Shakespeare into it so seamlessly.

so I won't try. But if forced at gunpoint, this would be in my top 2. definitely.

i so wish she'd write another.
Aug 02, 2009 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A second chance at life, but it is not what it seems. "This Body" is a magnificent and brilliant book. Ms. Doud wrote a novel that I think we would all be interested in reading.

Katharine is a mother, wife and a friend I think we could all relate to.
Thisby Bennet is who our mothers will tell us we will end up like if we stray away from the family unit.

Katharine wakes in the body of Thisby. There are many ups and downs as the characters realize what could have been or should have been. This book
Oct 21, 2008 Stephanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This book was heartbreaking. It scared the pants off me (how horrible!) and was awkward and uncomfortable, but I was totally transfixed (even as I reached the end at 5:30 am last night!) and totally bummed when it ended. I must admit, I wanted more... I'd love to hear the after, for sure. But I truly enjoyed this book and it definitely gave me lots of food for thought. Ladies, I highly recommend it.
Oct 28, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was totally uncomfortable...and I loved it. Without spilling too much before the next book club meeting; I really like the Shakespeare quotes throughout, and think this whole reincarnation thing is a really interesting concept. I also really enjoyed some of the real life type quotes near the end, because don't we all deep down struggle with who we are and what we become at times?
Jan 08, 2011 Freddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book quite by accident and I am so glad I did. The story was well written and had me gripped from beginning to end. Although sometimes it became a little uncomfortable I couldn't put it down.

There was to be a movie adaption of this by Fox Searchlight, does anyone know what became of that?
Oct 24, 2007 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so I read this ages ago, and havent even glanced at it since, but I remember what I was thinking as I finished the book. "what. the. crap. was. that?"
The concept was such a great one, but the actual book was all over the place and not even entertaining.
Jul 23, 2011 Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would really appreciate the ability to add a half star here. Full disclosure: I know the author's family very well. I read this almost out of obligation in 1998 and wasn't quite sure what to think about it. Here I am in 2011 reading it with a family of my own. What a difference! It was painful and scary to read, particularly the parts about the teenage kids and all the years of uncertainty I have ahead. I think some people may have problems with the general premise of the plot and others will de ...more
Shannon Winward
Mar 06, 2012 Shannon Winward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book in one sitting - spent the whole day sitting on my couch in the sun, just reading. Godz, when was the last time you got a chance to do that? Nice.

Clearly, I liked the story. But also, this book was distinctive because it is the first book about a woman written by a woman that I've read in quite awhile. Isn't that strange?

Karen Bird
Oct 11, 2012 Karen Bird rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't lie to you, I was a bit confused at first, but everything was clarified perfectly and I utterly loved this book!!!!!
Jan 24, 2011 Tamlyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Really interesting book. I liked the Katharine/Tisby character and the difference between their outlooks based on the circumstances.
Mar 15, 2011 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book. A terrific read. Great for book groups.
Colleen Canfield
Love, love, loved, this book.
Apr 29, 2008 Holli rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn’t relate very well to the plot. Katharine was such a real character with real concerns and problems, but having her end up in a 22 year old’s body just sort of ended it for me before it began. There was really no hope for her to deal with her life because she was removed from her life and would never go back to it. I guess there were truths to be learned on a deeper level, but I just didn’t feel invested enough to figure them out. A novel about a middle-aged woman inhabiting the b ...more
Jul 20, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-a-z
Fiction A-Z Book 'D': This Body by Laurel Doud

This is another one of those books where I'm wishing for half-star ratings, because I think I'd give this one a 4 1/2.

It's the story of a middle-aged woman (Katherine) who dies and whose mind, one year later, comes to inhabit the body of a junkie in her early twenties (Thisby) who has apparently OD'd on the floor of her bathroom. I'll say that it's a wonderful dramatic counterpoint to the sci-fi heavy Replay that I read earlier this year (without th
Cassidy Shea
May 27, 2010 Cassidy Shea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
thank god I'm done with this book.

I would categorize this novel as 'bored housewife literature.' the main character, for instance, gets excited about doing 'naughty' things like breaking a glass or masturbating. if that strikes your fancy, then you may enjoy this.

personally, I thought it was atrocious writing. tons of trite, clichéd crap. the main character is a total mary sue & the author doesn't even try to hide it. every dumb thing the author has ever wondered about is in this book.

Oct 24, 2012 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sorry - normally I only write reviews of books I've enjoyed and found useful, but this book was such a disappointment, I have to put my two stars worth in.
The concept is great - I really like the notion of being reincarnated and knowing as a new person what you know now. The idea of coming back in the body of a young junkie, and then helping her out (since you're body is definitely dead, anyway), is also interesting.

But after the introduction, this book didn't go where it could have. There a
C Lasseter
Dec 01, 2011 C Lasseter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has peaks and valleys, but in the end I loved it. The main character's inner thoughts are raw, unapologetic, and may mirror our own thoughts in some ways. The ending consists of several pages of rambling, confusing explanations as the antagonist reaches inner harmony (which is expected as a story wraps up). I did not work to try to make sense of her final state of mind; it didn't seem necessary to do so. But how she reached that end is surprising, endearing, and worth reading. The refe ...more
Meglena Ivanova
This novel is an ambitious work, grappling with questions of love, loyalty, and death through a loose borrowing of the Shakespearean gimmick of confused identity. The concept was great; however, the characters was not so great, but acceptable. Also this novel takes an interesting premise, that a person's consciousness can be transplanted into another body, and takes it even further. This book explores the questions we sometimes consider of what we'd do differently and how life might be if only w ...more
Nov 06, 2013 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disappointments
The story was an interesting premise, but fell flat. However, the most irksome quality of the writing was the blatant plagiarism (don't try passing it off as irony or an homage, please); it's been several years since I read this, but I remember at least three passages that were ripped off, including one stolen from the film Wayne's World. When you're cheating off of SNL character sketch movies to write your novel, you should probably hit the Help Wanteds.
Hedgebrook alumna Laurel Doud book is "A fresh, thoughtful spin on the well-worn fantasy of inhabiting another body....The more Shakespeare one knows...the more pleasurable it is to read this crisply written, wry and intelligent book; yet even the reader who falls far short of Doud's knowledge of the Bard will appreciate the emotional resonance of the Katharine/Thisby identity struggle." Publishers Weekly
Dec 24, 2011 Meghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my favorite books ever and I look forward to Doud's next book. I love the character's voice and the complicated, tangled nature of the ethical dilemma she faces in her new body just slayed me. Trying to be someone else, someone better, trying to avoid your old life - those are problems many face daily without any sci-fi reincarnation setup anyway. Highly recommend it and my husband loved it too!
Jul 01, 2015 Shannon rated it it was amazing
This story had me thinking more on and even questioning my existentialist view of the world. I identified with the overworked and unconscious mother, as well as the selfish, drug addicted woman whose body mom takes over. It's been a long time since a fictional story was able to take me on such an emotional roller coaster of a ride. I'll be re-reading this one sometime soon I think.
I read this book more than a few years ago & I still look for new books by this author because I loved the book so much. I've often tried to start writing a story with a similar theme, but just cannot imagine holding a candle to this book.
Destin Kozojed
Jan 02, 2008 Destin Kozojed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women
This book really moved me when I read it. The reincarnation thing, at least the autors idea of it, is kind ofar-fetched. There is no way what happened in the book is possible. The deeper part of it made it really hard to stop reading though. Pretty deep stuff. Definately a book for women.
Jul 31, 2007 Lauren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book where the back was better than the actual book. I guess that's what you get for picking up a random book and hoping it would be good.
Mar 06, 2011 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
This is one of my very favorite books. Such a strange, lovely, haunting read. A book I think back on a lot and have been thinking about reading again.
Colleen Pence
Fascinating premise but I found the execution of the idea plodding and hard to get through. Not the page-turner I'd hoped to find. A woman dies and wakes up to find herself in another woman's body.
Jun 17, 2008 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You will find yourself re-reading parts of this book to make sure you read it correctly. This is an unbelievable book!
The premise is interesting but the story moves far too slowly, finally arriving at an ending that leaves the reader wanting and an epilogue designed to confuse.
Apr 01, 2013 Becky rated it liked it
A compelling but weird read. It's not like the premise is totally novel, but it still made me think. The book ended somewhat suddenly and I'm not sure if I liked that.
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Laurel Doud lives in the California Sierra foothills with her husband, 4 dogs and seven sporadically visiting children. She is at work on her second novel.
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