Karene's Reviews > Elsewhere

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
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's review
Dec 22, 2007

liked it
Read in November, 2011

Things I liked about this book: Totally new and fascinating depiction of the afterlife. It is kind of a take on reincarnation, but with the crazy twist of the life in between where you age backwards until you're reborn. It was cool to think about what that would be like for me, personally. I thought it had a lot of rather profound thoughts about the meaning of life, it is a reminder to be present, to live life for what it is now instead of getting caught up in the fallacy that life is some sort of far off point at which to arrive. Also, not to waste time longing for things that just cannot be.

Things I didn't like about this book: The use of present tense in the writing. I have rarely read a book where I liked that, but in this book somehow it kept drawing attention to itself and was even more distracting than usual. I also felt like it often read like a transcript of events, rather than a novel--I found myself wishing for the author to give me just a little more insight into what was going on in the characters' heads and especially in their hearts. For example, at one of the crucial turning points of the story, an entire conversation takes place between the two main characters in which all the reader gets is the back and forth words that are exchanged. No indication of what the characters are feeling when they say these words, though the moment should be highly emotional. Finally at the end of the conversation, we're told that one of the main characters seems miserable. Honestly, I wouldn't have guessed...without the author's guidance, the conversation easily read as matter-of-fact. In the end, I think this was why I felt emotionally disconnected from the story. It should have been a tear jerker, but for me, it wasn't. Just a fun read.

This is the second book I've read by this author, and the other, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, was better. But this one is worth reading, all the same.

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