Emily Hainsworth's Reviews > The Beginner's Guide to Living

The Beginner's Guide to Living by Lia Hills
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's review
Mar 12, 2011

bookshelves: yafiction
Read from March 12 to 14, 2011

Thank you to Tye Cattanach for sending this my way!!

Having written a book about a boy who deals a lot with grief myself, I was really intrigued (and okay a little intimidated) to see how Lia Hills approached the subject…and I couldn’t have been more engrossed by the story. I finished this book in two sittings (FAST for me, ok). Maybe I am a sucker for ~boys in pain~, but I found myself directly inside Will’s head (and sometimes his pants), trying to piece together some meaning out of his mother’s death.

Meaning begins to take shape for Will through cleverly-inserted philosophical quotes he comes upon throughout the book. I’ve always leaned toward the Existentialists when it comes to philosophy, but I never felt like the author was trying to push any one opinion or outlook on life down my throat. Will and I interpreted the lines as they came, and I’m not sure either of us came out with a definitive answer in the end…but isn’t that often the point in philosophy?

The other thing I loved about Will’s journey was how he came to change perspective about his mother’s death based on his interactions with other people…even the times when he seemed to keep making all the wrong choices, you could see that he was adding up his experiences, taking tally, and searching for something greater than oblivion.

THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO LIVING had me questioning everything I thought might be right for Will from the beginning, and opened my mind up to the choices and alternatives he was presented with along the way. I love when a book forces me to look at things differently, to reconsider my preconceived ideas about the paths characters should take.

This book was a gem that I highly recommend, and I’d like to thank Tye Cattanach once again for sending it my way!!!

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03/12/2011 page 55
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