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The Things We Learn When We're Dead

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  389 ratings  ·  124 reviews
The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is about how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, but how we can sometimes get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she
Paperback, 501 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Accent Press Ltd
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Miranda Reads
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it

'Trinity, can I see God?'
Regrettably, Lorna, God is in a meeting.
After years, and years, Lorna is finally on the cusp of being a lawyer, she's finally made all the right connections to secure her job and she's finally, finally 'made it' in the world.

But all that changes in an instant.

On her way home from a boring (if important) dinner party, somehow she steps in front of a moving car by accident (or possibly on purpose?).
'I'm not dead,' she declared loudly. 'How the hell can I
Whispering Stories
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed by Julie on

‘The Things We Learn When We’re Dead’ is the second novel by Scottish author, Charlie Laidlaw. It is an unusual offbeat contemporary fantasy adventure, thankfully without a dragon and demon in sight. The cartoony feel of the cover sets the tone for the tale and the reader knows this book isn’t taking itself too seriously.

The beginning of the story held a lot of promise and I was very keen to read on. The main character, Lorna, has a lot to conte
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
"The Things We Learn When We're Dead" by Charlie Laidlaw is an excellent fun book that allows you just to relax, enjoy and be emerged in an alternate world of what we believe to be heaven. This book is a very quirky take of what the author envisages to be the afterlife, and what an imagination he has, it's certainly nothing I could have come up with.
When Lorna Love is run over, she wakes in a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyon
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

Most times, it’s too late to figure it all out. Sometimes, there is the chance to make things right before the domino effect sets all else in motion. Never is there time to tell loved ones everything we wanted to before a fatal accident…unless you are Lorna Love!

“Then she was aware of a paramedic in a green uniform gently turning her onto her back and she lay there gazing at the stars, all she could feel was great sadness and a void that might not now be filled. Then, her eyesight fading,
☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
I would like to thank Reads and Reels Blog Tours for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

What a spectacular novel that was filled with surprise and delight!!! When hearing about this book I wasn’t sure what to think but I am so glad that I chose to give it a chance because the reward was so rewarding that I wi have to read again in the future. From the first pages, this novel captivated me and didn’t let up either until the very end. I gladly endured a night without sleep
✨Bean's Books✨
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sci-fi? Or not so Sci-fi?
"On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN, because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… or does God have a highe
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
As Lorna adapts to her new surroundings on the spaceship, random objects she sees – M&S underwear, lamb cutlets, even a hamster – trigger memories from her past life. At first these are fragmented, incomplete and often confusing. Some are pleasant memories: childhood holidays, family picnics, games with friends, the first stirrings of interest in the opposite sex. Others are reminders of loss and grief.

Many of Lorna’s memories revolve around exploits with her stylish friend, Suzie, and Lorna’s r
Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*

I'm going to start this review by expressing how comfy this book was to read. Now, I know that sounds a bit odd. It has nothing to do with the beautifully poignant story. Nothing to do with how the depth of characters and their relatable personas that made me feel fully connected in every way possible. And nothing to do with the fact that there's a hamster peeking out of a rocket on the front cover.

This paperback felt great to hold. The pages and cover were just so soft and squidgy! When open,
Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews
*** Note: I won signed copy of this book in giveaways during blogtour. Many thanks to author for sending me this beautiful book. ***

You might have head of someone dead for few seconds or a minute and resuscitated back to life. Something happened in those few seconds or minute and person that came back feels different, back with new thought and purpose in life and wanting to do things differently. Even some claiming to have seen a magical white light or a figure that changed everything. This conc
Fact is, I simply could not say no to the pull of this book. Read that blurb and tell me it doesn’t sound fantastic and positively quirky??? Hippy god and wine for dinner and Sean Connery-nurse? TTWLWWD just gave hospitals a new set of guidelines to add to their policies, hey!

I was all game and prepared to be presented with a plot based on choices and how each and every choice steers lives in new directions. We never really think of the long-term, overall implications of our choices until it’s t
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fresh, fantastical, and unique!

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is an exceptionally innovative adventure that takes you on a journey with Lorna Love as she remembers her life back in North Berwick, explores an afterlife on HVN, meets some outrageous characters, including God, and realizes that every choice, good or bad has a consequence.

The prose is humorous and expressive. The characters are complex, rich, reflective, and intriguing. And the plot written in a back-and forth, past/present sty
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
I feel like I'm missing out on something here. A lot of you wildly loved this book. I just... Half-didn't get it. I guess in the end, this book wasn't for me, because I found it pretty trigerring and hard to stomach. The author himself commented to me that this book was supposed to be light-hearted, and some of the other readers say that as well, but I just don't get what's light-hearted about having a sibling die in a way that could have been avoided, having some really regrettable misses in re ...more
Kirsten McKenzie
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This started out as a pretty peculiar read. The science flummoxed me, until I realised I didn’t need to understand the science behind space travel! The memories of Lorna’s life kept me turning page after page. God as an alien? Or is he? Is he God? Are all of Lorna’s boyfriends hopeless?
I started out thinking this was a three star read, but it definitely turned into a lovely five star read. A delicate story about an ordinary person, despite her access to a Porsche. I can happily recommend this o
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
The Things We Learn When We're Dead is currently FREE on Amazon Kindle for a limited time via Bookbub! Now is a great time to pick up this read!

4.5 stars. Friends, I devoured this 500 page book in like 3 working days. This is such a refreshing and unique read! Lorna Love has died and gone to heaven... or rather HVN, a spaceship infested with hamsters (do not feed them, ever) among the stars.

The Things We Learn When We're Dead is mostly a book about Lorna's life; HVN and the cast of characters s
Nicole (TheBookWormDrinketh)
“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.”

I am so sorry it took me so long to write this review. I read the book ages ago, but it is so mind blowingly deep that I had to stew on it for a while to try to get my thoughts in order….. which still hasn’t happened because, well hell, this is me! Ha ha!

The complexities of this book as Lorna tries to figure our where she is after waking up on HVN while remembering bits and pieces of her life as everything begins to sort of muddle t
Dee-Cee  It's all about the books
Described as a modern fairy-tale of love and loss and, for those readers who want to make the connection, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, I was really eager to see how The Things We Learn When We’re Dead would go. I loved The Wizard of Oz when I was wee and if I’m totally honest I still do so I had high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed at all.
Lorna Love is young, has her whole life ahead of her until one evening she steps in front of a car. When Lorna wakes up she’s in a strange room, she can’t
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a book that I find impossible to suggest a genre for. Part fantasy, coming of age, discovery and one that encourages a feel good atmosphere. It is likened to both Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Wizard of Oz. I have read neither but have watched the film of The Wizard of Oz. The only part of that I can remember is a couple of really annoying songs that I was singing to myself as I read this novel.
I haven’t read anything like this before. It felt a
Shirley Revill
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book and I will be looking to read the next book in the series. Recommended.
Didi Oviatt
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Contemporary type fantasy isn't usually my cup of tea, so my joy in reading this was actually a pleasant surprise. After reading over the unique description along with a few very promising reviews I decided to give it a go, despite my initial hesitation due to the genre. I like to mix things up and rotate book types. So, more often than not, when I do actually find great books in my not to usual genres' I'm ultimately thrilled to have found them. I'm happy to report that this was indeed the case ...more
Cathy Ryan
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
To outward appearances this seems to be a quirky, imaginative science fiction/fantasy mix and, although that’s part of it, the story actually has more layers and goes a lot deeper, exploring issues which include an alternative look at life after death, acceptance, awareness, hindsight and the concept of God.

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead encompasses Lorna’s life before and after her death, in North Berwick, Edinburgh and in Heaven somewhere in space. On the day of the London bombings in 200
Joanne Robertson
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the idea of this book when I first read reviews of it. I’m a big Wizard of Oz fan and so the mention of that storyline as a comparible here was what swung it for me and I knew I had to read it. The fact that it seems to be marketed as fantasy and contemporary sci-fi is very much a misdirection as it’s really just a story of a girl who needs to remember her life so that she can learn from her mistakes and find her way back home.

The unusual thing about this book is that Lorna is
Jenna Bookish
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a charming book, with a delightful mixture of the familiar and the strange! It took me a little while to get into this story, but once I did, it was clear it was well worth the time invested. The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is all about choices, memories, and love.

"Is that what love is? Discovering a missing jigsaw piece and finding that it fits? Are we all born incomplete, compelled to search for the lost bits of us?"

Lorna Love is rather untethered when she wakes up in a mysterious, ha
Karen Mace
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I always like it when I don't know what to expect from a book and it surprises me in a positive way, and that is exactly how feel now after reading this one and am amazed how such an unassuming story really connected with me so much!

Lorna Love is training to be a lawyer, but her life plan suffers a major setback when she is hit by a car and finds herself in hospital but this is no ordinary hospital and soon she is being introduced to the facility known as HVN! This facility though is also a spac
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lorna, a self-confessed agnostic, steps in front of a car and dies. Whether it was an accident or suicide is subject to debate. Lorna wakes up in heaven, but it isn’t heaven in the conventional sense of the word: it is a malfunctioning spacecraft operated by aliens, God being one of them. I found Laidlaw’s concept of heaven fascinating and totally different from my own version of it in Paula Goes to Heaven. Laidlaw’s heaven is scientifically justifiable and would make good sense to many a ration ...more
Chris Holme
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't read many novels but I really enjoyed this one. It's set in the recent past, mainly in Edinburgh and East Lothian. There are parallels with the story of the Wizard of Oz as the lead character copes with life after death. I thought the characterisation was strong in a pithily related and engaging narrative with sparks of acerbic humour. I also enjoyed Laidlaw's first novel, the Herbal Detective (written as Charles Gray), and look forward to his next. ...more
India McLeod Kay
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that I could talk for hours and hours about as Laidlaw packs so much into it in such an elegant way. It is a book that I need other people to read because I just need to talk about it! It is a book that I feel will one day be taught in university or high school classes – I took a module in Contemporary Fiction during my English Literature degree and this title would have fit into the reading list perfectly – as there are so many relevant themes and messages within it, ...more
Nina Silva
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This story is told through a first person perspective. We do get a feeling and sense of who the other characters are and what makes them tick, but it is Lorna that we really get to know well. Everyone else is presented through her perspective, and any hurts or happiness they may perceive are filtered through her. She seems to be your average young adult going through life and the changes brought on at each new phase.

At the opening of the story, Lorna is a sad, confused young lady and she makes u
Matilda Chapman
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review to follow.
Michelle Ryles
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
As someone who never reads sci-fi, I thought that The Things We Learn When We're Dead would push me out of my comfort zone, so I was surprised that I found it so easy to read and relate to. I was told before I started it, that it was a modern reworking of The Wizard of Oz. This wasn't really one of my favourite books or films as a child, but I knew it well enough to be intrigued to see what Charlie Laidlaw had done with this classic.

Set in Scotland, Lorna Love (what a great name) wakes up in hos
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
When Charlie graciously sent me his book all the way from the U.K. (Thanks Again!), he did mention that there was a “Wizard of Oz” feeling to the story. When I finally got the chance to read it, I had forgotten what it was about (occupational hazard) and just remembered that I wanted to read it.

It was actually kind of nice to go in “blind” because once I started reading, it was like one surprise gift after another.

The book starts with us knowing next to nothing about the protagonist, Lorna. The
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I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland (quite near Paisley, but thankfully not too close) and graduated f

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