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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Elsewhere Puts Fresh, Funny Spin On the Whole What-Happens-After-We-Die Question

(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Living in Elsewhere definitely has its perks: the weather's always pleasant, the beaches are pristine, and new work by Picasso is on display at the local museum. There's only one drawback - to live in Elsewhere, you have to be dead. Liz Hall's cool with the weather, the beach, and the local attractions; it's the dying part with which she has an issue. It's fine for all the silver-haired folks who got to experience full lives on Earth, but she was mowed down by a taxi at age 15. She hadn't even begun to live. Now, she's stuck in paradise, aging backward until she reaches infancy and travels back to Earth.
Only Liz doesn't want to be a baby again. She doesn't want to start all over with a new family. She wants her life, the one she left behind in Medford, Massachusetts. She wants to drive, date, go to college, fall in love, get married, and grow old. She wants to live, really live, not just exist in some weird parallel universe. It may be impossible, but Liz won't give up until she finds a way to return to her real life.
Her unhappiness makes everyone around Liz uncomfortable. The grandmother she never knew in life urges her to move on. Her eager-to-please acclimation counselor suggests she needs an avocation to distract her. And a rock star, whose face once graced every magazine cover on Earth, suggests that returning may not be as satisfying as she thinks it will be. Liz knows they mean well, but she also knows they're wrong. Even if it means breaking all the rules - and it definitely does - she's going to get her life back.
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin puts a fresh, funny spin on the whole what-happens-after-we-die question. Refreshingly lighthearted in tone, the story manages to be both entertaining and moving. With a warm, quirky cast, a fascinating setting, and plenty of big questions to ponder, Elsewhere delights in so many ways. Whether or not your version of heaven jives with Zevin's, this lovely little book will make you snicker, sniffle and speculate about the biggest mystery of all: What really happens after we die? We all have our ideas, but Zevin's may be the most entertaining of them all.
(Readalikes: A little like If I Stay by Gayle Forman and The Everafter by Amy Huntley)
Grade: B+
If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for mild language and some sexual innuendo/content
To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find


  1. I read this one (the whole thing) in the dead of night last year for a Read-a-Thon, and I looooved it. You pegged the description of it, and I'm really a fan of everything I've read of Zevin's. Glad you liked it!

  2. I need to look around here because I think I have a copy of this book somewhere. I know I heard about it somewhere else and suspect I bought it. Hmmmm....if not, it goes on the wishlist. Sounds fun.

  3. That sounds quite interesting. Thanks for piquing my interest. Though I hope when I get to the afterlife I don't have to start over as an infant. Then I'd have to go the JUNIOR HIGH years again!


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