The concept of this intriguing novel sucked me in when I read the blurb about it here on Goodreads. The concept of parallel universes fascinates me anThe concept of this intriguing novel sucked me in when I read the blurb about it here on Goodreads. The concept of parallel universes fascinates me and I’ve had many a fond daydream about the various mes in different universes living out lives that diverged from mine at different decision points in my life. I like to think that at least one of those alter-mes is employed in a job that doesn’t suck and shudder to think how many of the mes are probably dead or maybe never existed at all. The main character Quinn’s ability to pass between her universes is a concept that inspires my envy and horror in equal parts.
Quinn is a seemingly typical mid-thirties suburban mom with an elementary school aged son and another baby on the way. She loves her hardworking husband and is generally satisfied with her life but often thinks of her time before marriage, when she dated a demanding radio host and her mother was still alive. However, Quinn is very different from the other mothers carpooling the kids to soccer practice because she also knows that there are other versions of herself living in parallel worlds and she has the ability to access these other lives through various portals she senses are nearby. Quinn’s relationship with Nan, her bipolar artist mother, was complicated and she deeply mourns her loss as she mothers her son and unborn child. When Quinn gets bad news about the baby she carries, she finds the temptation of slipping into her “other life” through a portal in her basement impossible to resist. Quinn is floored when she discovers her mother is alive and well in her other life and the growing stress of a complicated pregnancy hurtles her towards making the impossible decision of which world to stay in forever; one with her husband, son and an uncertain future with the daughter she carries or one where she mothers her needy boyfriend and is mothered herself by Nan.
This rather melancholy book reminded me very much of The Time Traveler's Wife in style, fantasy inspired storyline and the lingering sense of inexplicable disappointment I felt when finishing it that it didn’t have a perfect ending. I listened to the audio version and felt it probably affected me more than reading it would have; there are several scenes relating to Quinn’s troubled pregnancy that I would have skimmed or skipped if I had been reading it because they disturbed me. The book’s deeply emotional climax happened while I was enjoying some rare time in the house to myself and it made me more anxious than books normally do. As someone still feeling out marriage and motherhood’s terrain, I deeply identified with Quinn’s struggle of loyalty between the family she created and the one she was born into. I was somewhat frustrated at the amount of celebrity name dropping in several scenes in the book. I found it distracting and unfortunate that this book anchored itself so securely to the 2010s when it tells such an interesting story that doesn’t need to be dated. Some of the secondary characters who were seemingly created to serve as foils to Quinn were hollow and redundant.
On the surface, The Other Life seems to be rather typical novel with an interesting premise but like Quinn’s shocking secret, it holds a hidden current of surprising depth. Meister incorporates a wide range of themes like loyalty, infidelity and grief into a fascinating story about one woman’s supernatural ability. ...more
I'm giving up on the audio version...I can't understand the reader who plays the old Jacob unless I turn my computer way up and be vewy vewy quiet. II'm giving up on the audio version...I can't understand the reader who plays the old Jacob unless I turn my computer way up and be vewy vewy quiet. I normally listen to audiobooks while cleaning and have a loud mouth baby so this isn't working for me. Hope to actually read it soon. ...more
I listened to this audio memoir written and read by Sarah Silverman twice-once by myself and then again with my husband. I happily listened to (and laI listened to this audio memoir written and read by Sarah Silverman twice-once by myself and then again with my husband. I happily listened to (and laughed through) it both times. I quite enjoy Silverman’s now defunct and oddly hilarious “The Sarah Silverman Program” so I was excited to see this audiobook in my library’s e-download catalogue. I found this memoir to be surprisingly deep and emotional in parts, while always maintaining Silverman’s trademark humor. Silverman’s memoirs are a view into her inner psyche and helped me understand where her humor comes from better. She knows her best source for material is herself and nothing (however humiliating) is off limits for a laugh in her book. I read a lot of humorous memoirs and found this one to be one of the most believable…I have laughed until exhaustion reading Augusten Burroughs etc. but in the back of my head I feel they use real life as a template to embellish on in their essay collections. Pretty much everything in The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee seems as if it is true to life…no weirdly specific conversations from 15 years ago or tidily humorous stories with a punch line populate her pages; it is hilarious but messily so. I loved learning about what went on behind the scenes at “The Sarah Silverman Program” and it’s great to watch episodes she talks about in the book and feel “in the know” about this joke or that actor’s off set proclivities.
On my second listen, I did catch the defensive undercurrents for several chapters towards the end that seemed a bit overdone to me. I consider myself a Sarah Silverman fan and it’s safe to assume she’s writing for a rather narrow self-selected audience comprised of SS fans so I don’t know why she spent so much time dissecting the Paris Hilton and Britney Spears “scandals” for a readership that doesn’t really care. Personally, if I had heard of either of those stories, they were long forgotten by the time I listened to the book 3 or 4 years after the fact.
In the end, I enjoy Sarah Silverman more as a performer and writer after listening to her book. Her big heart shines through all her doody jokes and feigned intolerance in this sincerely written memoir.
Note to self: I just realized I need to pick up a copy of this next time I’m in a bookstore and thumb through in case there are any pictures in it! ...more
I read this book last October (2010) and I thought it was a pretty funny foray into new territory for my old favorite, David Sedaris (although definitI read this book last October (2010) and I thought it was a pretty funny foray into new territory for my old favorite, David Sedaris (although definitely not on the same level as his essays).My husband suggested I get the audio version from the library for a 600 mile road trip and we both enjoyed it. The readers are HILARIOUS and I’m happy there were narrators other than Sedaris for this one because their different voices reading the various animal voices were perfect. I was a little weirded out in some parts of the stories when I read it but those same awkward parts were just plain funny as a listener to someone else reading them aloud. I enjoyed the bonus tale (“The Vomit Eating Flies”) on the audio version and it was one of my favorites. Although I was amused by Ian Falconer’s clever illustrations in the book which are an obvious casualty in the audiobook, I would recommend the audio version instead of (or in addition to) reading this darkly humorous collection. ...more
Technically, this was a good book. However I didn't enjoy it and really had to work to finish it...I read the first half and listened to the second haTechnically, this was a good book. However I didn't enjoy it and really had to work to finish it...I read the first half and listened to the second half. Fuller review to hopefully come later although at this point, I'm so far behind in reviews who knows if it will... ...more
This is probably going to have to wait until after Christmas to be finished...I may stick with the audio or I may switch to reading it-it's a very lonThis is probably going to have to wait until after Christmas to be finished...I may stick with the audio or I may switch to reading it-it's a very long audiobook so the latter is tempting. ...more
I really wanted to like this book but I don't have the interest level needed to finish the seven and half hour audio book. I probably would have likedI really wanted to like this book but I don't have the interest level needed to finish the seven and half hour audio book. I probably would have liked this book more a couple years ago when I was in school and using librarians as a resource; I mainly request my books and pick them up so I spend 5 minutes in the library per trip and don't really interact with librarians. ...more