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The Rest of Her Life

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  4,792 ratings  ·  686 reviews
In The Rest of Her Life, Laura Moriarty delivers a luminous, compassionate, and provocative look at how mothers and daughters with the best intentions can be blind to the harm they do to one another. Leigh is the mother of high-achieving, popular high school senior Kara. Their relationship is already strained for reasons Leigh does not fully understand when, in a moment of ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Karen Benson
I could not put this book down and finished it the same day I started it. It seems that opinions of this book are all over the place, but I for one found it to be quite intriging and well-written.

Perhaps the description on the cover is a bit misleading since the story is actually about the mother, who has a very strained relationship with her teen daughter which is put to the test by the tragedy. She relives her sad and unfortunate childhood and relationship with her own mother and finds that wh
Liz B
Mar 05, 2008 Liz B rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Liz B by: Jyneal
The rating is a personal one. I suppose the book is a fine book, and at least moderately well-written. It's not really the book's fault that I hated the premise (everything that happens after the protagonist's teenage daughter accidentally runs over and kills another teenager), disliked the protagonist (whiny), and was pretty much uninterested in the back story. In fact, the main real critique I have of this novel--that is, a critique not based on personal taste and bias--is that it doesn't have ...more
Sheryl Sorrentino
From practically the opening page, this story was intense, emotional and gripping. The Rest of Her Life shows us how, from one minute to the next, one error in judgment—a teeny, tiny moment of inattention—can profoundly alter so many lives forever. I found both the plot and characters to be intelligent, moving and utterly convincing.

Distracted by a stray dog, eighteen-year-old Kara Churchill accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian in a crosswalk while driving her parents’ Suburban SUV. The vict
I really loved this book. I didn't find it at all 'jodi piccolt'-ish. Though I can see why people have linked the two. It didn't feel overtly sappy as JP books can. This was a really interesting point of view, and I found it refreshingly different. The jacket is a bit misleading though as it does state that it is a book about a young woman and the aftermath of her accidentally killing a teenager. The story is much better than that. The accident is a catalist for a change in the mother/daughter r ...more
I thought the way the daughter's reactions to the accident evolved was thoughtful and real, but that was only a tiny part of the story. Despite what the book cover and premise in the blurb say, the story is actually about the mother; the main event just served as a catalyst for her to realize things about herself and her relationships with her family and friends. At first I didn't like her at all because of her petty feelings in momentous circumstances, but as her past unfolded, I started to und ...more
Jaime Hardin
I love that this author doesn't feel the need to spoon feed her readers every detail. She gives her audience some credit and lets us put things together ourselves. This book was just perfect. The characters were so believable and the story progressed at just the right speed. My favorite character was Eva. Everyone needs a friend like her! I would definitely recommend this book.
I am tired of books that say one thing and deliver another. This was supposed to be the story of a mother dealing with an accident her daughter had in which she killed another teenager. Instead it was a flashback rich tale of Mom's woes thorugh life and the accident took a backseat, so much so that the truth about what happened that day was NEVER given. Waste of time!
Dale Harcombe
This book starts with a tragic accident that affects Kara and her family. I think I expected the story would focus on Kara and how this event affected more. Instead the story is more about her mother Leigh and her inability to reach out and communicate with her daughter. Over the course of the novel we get flashbacks to Leigh’s childhood and the relationship or lack thereof with her mother, which helps us understand Leigh. One quote that struck me in the novel was attributed to Jackie Kennedy. ’ ...more
The plot in Laura Moriarty books has much to be desired. Very little actually happens. I consider her books to be more of a character study. The main character's thoughts are so intriguing to me that I'm caught up in what she's going to think next. Even though I can never identify with any of her characters, I feel like I know them. As with her other books, I could not put this one down. It is interesting how people either love or hate this author.
Rhonda Rae Baker
Was going to give this a three because of the ending but after thinking about it the novel deserves a four because it is so well written and insightful. I was involved from the beginning and found myself agreeing with the characters on so many details. My heart was wrenched with what happened as I've been to places very similar. A very beautiful story, one that you'll remember for a long time. As mother's we try our very best to protect the children and give them what we never had...but we reall ...more
There is a lot of sadness in this book and it comes out in so many different ways. Following a car accident where her daughter hits and kills another teenage girl, the mom struggles with how she can deal with the after effects and how it is damaging her daughter's life. Because the mom's own mother did not know how to show love or affection properly, the mom's own attempts to do so often fall flat. There is a very poignant moment when she realizes she does act like her own mother, despite attemp ...more
Joy H.
Added 6/15/15 - I read to page 62 of this book but didn't read further because I found the story too depressing. The story concerns a daughter who fatally hit a pedestrian while driving. I don't enjoy reading about the terrible things which happen to people but I suppose that's the stuff of novels. The book seems to wallow in depressing situations. Here's a sample from page 61 & 62:
"...Leigh had woken up with her pillow and sheets covered in her own vomit. Wak
Leigh Churchill has a nice life in a small Kansas town: A sweet husband, two good kids, a teaching job she loves. There’s the usual teenage trouble with her daughter, Kara, but nothing serious. It all changes one day - on the first page of the book - when a distracted Kara runs a stop sign and ends up killing a girl.
In “The Rest of Her Life,” Moriarty follows the family in the turmoil after the accident. She deftly captures the initial horror and the sadness, but also explores the wash of feelin
The Rest of Her Life takes the reader into the life of a family whose lives are turned upside down in an instant. The book opens with Kara, a teenager who is about to graduate from high school and while driving makes a terrible mistake that changes the course of her life and those around her. This mistake also affects another teenager, Bethany and her family. I don't want to share all of the details of the story as it would give too much away.

The story is actually told through the eyes of Leigh
Anna  (Bananas!)
I didn't expect to care about this book. It was a pleasant surprise. I did two rounds of reader reviews through Elle magazine several years ago and this was one of the picks. (Great way to get free books. I see why the blog reviewing is so popular.)

The heart of this book lies in the mother/daughter relationship. It delves into how mothers and daughters relate, especially how they screw with each others' heads and also how no one understands a woman like her mother can. This can be the most tortu
Patty Schneider Swalley
I was really disappointed in this book. The author never develops the characters enough for you to make this story believable.
The story starts with Kara, a senior in high school (also a soccer player) who accidentally kills another teenage girl in a car crash because of negligence. The story is from the mom’s point of view. The mom, Leigh, feels shut out by Kara who relates better to her dad and brother. There seems to be a lot of hate and aloneness on Kara’s part and disappointment / disapproval on the mom’s part. I think the mom resented that Kara had things too easy compared to her life. The mother is terribly guilt ...more
I loved Moriarty's debut novel, The Center of Everything, and was excited when I found out that she had this new book out: The Rest of Her Life. The Rest of Her Life starts with a fatal accident - a high school girl accidentally kills another teenage girl with her car. The book follows the aftermath of this accident from the perspective of the young driver's mother, Leigh.

Leigh is certainly a flawed person, but I found her quite relatable. Moriarty shows how Leigh came to be the kind of mother s
This contemporary fiction focuses on the relationship between mothers and daughters in a unique way. Leigh is the mother to Kara, who is very popular high school student. Kara has a car accident that unfortunately kills another student. The plot focuses on Leigh's perspective as she deals with all the consequences of the accident that occurred in a small town. The story flows quickly and the characters are believable.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
The Center of Everything was a book I raved about, a book I pushed on to unsuspecting people, a book I adored.

The Rest of Her Life is much more formulaic, more like a Jodi Picoult novel, with a sad problem revolving around human dynamics. Kara, a young girl about to graduate from high school, accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian. The book centers on Kara and her family and friends and their attempts to come to terms with what happened.

The scenes with Leigh, Kara's mom, with her own mother a
Jun 29, 2008 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Jodi Piccoult
This was a great book, very hard to put down. I read it in 2 days flat.

The story centers around the Churchill family, when daughter Kara, a smart, pretty high school senior, hits and kills a classmate while driving with distractions. The book follows the Churchills in the months that follow.

The dust jacket describes the story as being about the family dealing with the public outcry and community outrage stemming from the act, as well as the town's dealing with the situation.

However, the book is
So far, this is an interesting topic and good writing style. It is a subject that we all hope never to face and I am curious to see how it is handled. The Mom, Leigh, has so many issues that are really brought into sharp focus with the events that occur in the beginning of the story. I find myself nodding silent assent as she struggles inwardly with the desire to be a "good" Mom and also feel needed and loved and seen for who she really is. Her feelings of trying to be understood and there for h ...more
Jane Peskara / Audrey Valentine
Well awesome story, well written but the end is too abrupt...

Its about a family a normal family wth thwo children..
One day something tragical happens, the daughter Kara has a car accident and kills a young girl.
The parents react in a different way, the father wants to protect his daughter and save her from any
and the mother feels with the mother of the death girl for her own daughter she barely feels compassion, their relationship isnt the best...........

In the end Kara makes the right decision
This is one of those stories that makes you realize you have to be careful about judging people because you never know what life will bring or how you will handle a certain situation. This was a good story, but I have to admit it felt like it was quite a bit different than the jacket of the book described. I thought the majority of the story would be about the accident with the daughter and how the family and town deal with it, but a large portion of it was a back story on the mother's life whil ...more
I found this book gripping and easy to read but ultimately it left me unsatisfied.

While distracted by her cell phone and a puppy in the back seat, Leigh's daughter Kara ran a stop sign and killed a teenager in the crosswalk. The story is told from Leigh's point of view as she watched her daughter try to come to terms with causing another girl's death. I thought the insights into the mind of the negligent driver were quite interesting. I think we often see things from the victim's point of view a
Nhi Hoang
I didn't think a normal story could be written that long until I read The rest of her life. At first I just noticed on how the author described the plot, then she lead the readers into the character's mind. The fight in which a teenage, her brother, her father and especially her mother were struggling after the accident. I think the title refers to Leigh, not Kara, cause every moment in the present all tied the knot of the mess that Leigh had always covered. After the accident that had been caus ...more
This was a fascinating character study. In essence, this is a book about privilege and how it can take many forms: the privilege of wealth, the privilege of life, even the privilege of being brought up by capable parents. With all the chatter on social media lately about privilege and what that means in modern society, I felt that this book is highly suitable for this moment in time. This is not a book that aims to confront all forms of privilege, but it recontextualizes it, and shows the reader ...more
What we want for our children isn't always what they need. A mother/daughter story with a painful twist.
I bought the audio book to get me through the long drive from Florida to Wisconsin without going completely insane.

"The Rest of Her Life" is about a recent high school graduate, Kara, who accidentally kills a pedestrian with her SUV. The story is told from the point of view of her mother, Leigh, and utilizes many flashbacks to create an irregular chronology. The novel follows the fallout from the accident and the change in family dynamics over the course of a hot Kansas summer.

While this book
Deb W
I discovered a long time ago that reading some fiction helps me to learn to be a better person, and this is one of those. I didn't like the first half of the story. I was angry at the protagonist, mother to a young woman who'd killed a classmate in an car-pedestrian accident. I was REALLY angry, because she made it all about her. In fact, the poor young woman that killed the girl was hardly mentioned. It was all about the mother and her life as a girl and how her mother didn't understand her -- ...more
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Laura Moriarty earned a degree is social work before returning for her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She was the recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She currenly lives with her daughter in Lawrence, Kansas, and is at work on her next novel. (from
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“You could push people away, past their limits, even accidentally, and then it was just too late to get them back” 64 likes
“Maybe children just want whatever it is they don't get. And then they grow up and give their children what they wanted, be it silence or information, affection or independence--so that child, in turn, craves something else. With every generation the pendulum swings from opposite to opposite, stillness and peace so elusive.” 24 likes
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