2021 Reading Challenge discussion

Life After Life (Todd Family, #1)
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ARCHIVE 2014 > Life After Life: Middle 10 Sections

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message 1: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3941 comments This thread is to discuss the middle 10 sections of Life After Life:

Armistice (the second)
Like a Fox in a Hole

Victoria I finished the middle section yesterday I'm really liking the story, it has definitely picked up in terms of pace and the topics being highlighted rape, child molestation and murder, abortion, domestic violence and eventual murder are all topics which are still prevalent (unfortunately) in today's society although our understanding of these issues is more in depth and rounded than it was back then.

Although I like it when an author does not shy away from the darker topics within the world the book seems to be focusing on bad thing happens and leads to even worse thing until the character dies and can make everything bad go away i.e. Rape leads to abortion leads to alcoholism or rape leads to abortion leads to domestically abusive husband and it is making me wonder whether this is a very simplistic view to take. Bad things (and sometimes horrific things) happen to people but that doesn't automatically mean the rest of that persons life is devoid of positive experiences. I believe that it takes a lot of courage to rebuild your life into something positive after something appalling has happened to you and while everyone would wish these things never happened it takes a special sort of courage to move on and build a positive life out of it. It seems to me that Ursula would be a more believable character if when she died and was reborn she lost some of the positive experiences and well as the negative that at least would make the story more balanced and more akin to real life for me.

Valerie (nicehotcupoftea) | 150 comments I've just finished the middle section. The pace picked up and I am really enjoying the writing and the story. The literary device of dying and then the alternative storyline of not dying seems to be unnecessary to what is simply a good story. Maybe it will all come together in the final section. It just feels a bit superfluous.

Jenn | 280 comments I really liked this section. I think the theme of the book is starting to show up and that is the reason for so many of Ursula's difficult experiences. Each time she is reborn she has a sense about something that went wrong when she was faced with a particular situation, so she changes her behavior and in some cases is able to avoid the negative outcome. She does not carry with her a sense to change the outcome of positive experiences, so I think the focus on the negative makes sense. I think this is a very interesting concept that requires the rebirth to work. It also makes you wonder about those times you have a sense that something is wrong...where does it come from? I think the author is exploring that.

message 5: by Megan, Challenges (new) - rated it 4 stars

Megan (lahairoi) | 6138 comments I'm really enjoying this book. At the beginning, the concept was so unusual that I was intrigued. Now, I am so hooked! It's fascinating how a seemingly small decision by either Ursula or another in her circle can change the outcome of her life and in fact, affect her own personality. Seeing the variations in the adult Ursula have just added to the complexity of the novel. Love it so far!

LyndiLea Hardman (LyndiLeaHardman) | 110 comments The middle section of this book made me realize that sometimes it doesn't matter what decision you make, life will hand you lemons anyways. It doesn't matter which side of the battle she is on, death comes for her either way. I wasn't expecting such a detailed description of WWII, but I loved it. It got me talking with my husband about the importance of living in the country. I was describing the bombing scenes of London and Berlin to him from the book. How ugly war is. People tend to forget when its not right in their back yard. I am so grateful I didn't have to live through that and I pity the people who did.

Claire  (claire6452) | 678 comments I finished the second section while on vacation (this isn't really a great vacation read, by the way. LOL), and I'm certainly understanding it better now. In the first sections, I didn't really see what the author was trying to do with the repeated deaths and rebirths, but now I think we're seeing the importance of making the right decisions, especially when we get that "sixth sense" about a situation.

The decisions don't have to be Ursula's; for example, when Maurice throws the doll onto the roof, it was simple enough for it to be retrieved safely by someone else. But the second chances Ursula is given have all led her to do something differently, in a stronger way, and the result has been a longer life each time, and we're seeing movement along a specific path now.

Having gotten into the last section already, I can see where this is going, and it's going to be an interesting conclusion!

Myles (myles_76) | 32 comments Yeah, It's starting to all come together. Each life affects the next. Each life has big decision points, whether it's wondering out on the roof, or fighting off boys, or helping Nancy stay away from the cow pen. It's like a choose reading a choose your own adventure, and changing your mind if you don't like the ending.

I just keep think about the theory in physics about the Multiverse, or parallel universes. Each one of these lives is a parallel universe in which she lives. Yet in the book they seem to have some impact on the other in order. That been said, it's sad she had to go through all these horrible things, to then live through the good things.

This being an alternate universe themed book, she doesn't seem to actually relive these lives. At this point I can go on a whole Back to the Future Rant, but I'll stop here. I'll just say I hope she isn't messing with the space time continuum.

Albany (albanycarmona) I love what Victoria said on this thread, I hadn't really thought of it in that way but I do agree, Ursula should be able to get back up without using death as a restart to completely wipe away all the negative. Though maybe Ursula has a sense of a possibility of rebirth and therefore gives in to depression instead of getting back up and taking control of her life?

The introduction of rape in the story is what made me think this story was picking up and I wad glad of the focus being shifted from constant "darkness falling" to something deeper.

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