Kim's Reviews > Elsewhere

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
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's review
Feb 20, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: the-kids-are-all-right, holy-shit
Recommended to Kim by: Me
Recommended for: anyone
Read in February, 2008

You know what sucks?

When you get 53 (YES, FIFTY THREE) pages into a book and realize that you've read it before. That blows.

You know what doesn't suck?

You really like said book. I mean, it's been a good 8 months, and I was still hazy about the plot throughout the whole book, but it's SUCH a good story that I didn't mind kinda knowing the plot.

Liz is 15 and is a hit and run victim. She wakes up on the S.S. Nile (cute, huh?) and it takes her a bit but she finds out she's died and then ends up in Elsewhere. I think Elsewhere could be whatever your spiritual affiliation wants it to be. Limbo, Heaven, squatting at St. Pete's doorstep, a Quentin Tarantino filmfest....whatever...

Here's the kicker.. in Elsewhere you age backwards until you're a baby again and then you're returned to Earth. The ultimate in recycling, huh?

Now, don't you think that that is a total rip off? I mean, okay... you're just starting to feel out who you are and then you die and everything goes in reverse. So, you hardly have time to define yourself and by the time you're 21, you're really nine... WTF?

Gabrielle Zevin does a wonderful job with this plot, the characters you meet are well developed and the story made me start crying on public transportation. The last three chapters... racking sobs, I tell you... Even the second time around.
My one peeve is the clumsy use of present tense structure. It may be just me, let me rephrase that... it probably isn't clumsy, but it distracted me from the narrative and once I noticed that distraction it was hard to avoid.

Okay, I have to share this... this is when the eyes started to tear and the lips started to tremble:

"There will be other lives. There will be other lives for nervous boys with sweaty palms,for bittersweet fumblings in the backseats of cars, for caps and gowns in royal blue and crimson, for mothers clasping pretty pearl necklaces around daughters' unlined necks, for your full name read aloud in an auditorium, for brand-new suitcases transporting you to strange new people in strange new lands. And there will be other lives for unpaid debts, for one-night stands, for Prague and for Paris, for painful shoes with pointy toes, for indecisions and revisions."

And none of that stuff made me weepy or sentimental when it happened to me, but you bet I'll be thinking like this when my daughter hits that age.

So, if I forget that I read this, please don't remind me... I wouldn't mind another go around.
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02/26/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Valerie (new) - added it

Valerie I've done that before. I was almost half-way through the book before I realized that I'd read it before... and I still had no idea what happened at the end, so I kept going.

The sad thing is, at this moment I don't remember what book it was. You'd think having read it twice, I'd at least recall the title. But no. I guess I won't figure out what it was until I'm reading it again.

Colleen I like literally just did this with this book, but it's okay, because I love it :)

Mariko Moore that always happens to me! i swear almost every book i buy and get excited about i read like the first couple of pages of it and realize that i read it before!
but for me, i really don't mind because i love rereading books. especially ones like this book, because i think every time i reread this book it gets 100x better! :D

message 4: by Gretchen (new) - added it

Gretchen That quote is a reference to T.S. Eliot, the king of all references. And anyone who quotes T.S. Eliot has my attention. I just might read it.

message 5: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Turner You know what's even worse? When your eldest daughter, home for a visit, is ransacking your bookshelves for something to take home with her and finds four copies of the same book. No way to explain that with any credibility!

message 6: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Ha!!! I know that feeling.. :)

Jennifer I just did this with this book. I realized about 70 pages in that I'd already read it, but thought, "why not?"

Janet Iliff I reread this book on purpose every couple of years. It made such a huge impression on me the first time. I always know if I'm stuck for something good to read, this will still fit the bill. It never grows's that for irony?

Gaby Meares I had written exactly the same quote in my very special "Book of Quotes"!

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