Jill McCorkle’s first novel in 17 years is alive with the daily triumphs and challenges of the residents and staff of Pine Haven Estates, a retirement facility now home to a good many of Fulton, North Carolina’s older citizens. Among them, third-grade teacher Sadie Randolph, who has taught every child in town and believes we are all eight years old in our hearts; Stanley Stone, once Fulton’s most prominent lawyer, now feigning dementia to escape life with his son; Marge Walker, the town’s self-appointed conveyor of social status who keeps a scrapbook of every local murder and heinous crime; and Rachel Silverman, recently widowed, whose decision to leave her Massachusetts home and settle in Fulton is a mystery to everyone but her. C.J., the pierced and tattooed young mother who runs the beauty shop, and Joanna, the hospice volunteer who discovers that her path to a good life lies with helping folks achieve good deaths, are two of the staff on whom the residents depend.
McCorkle puts her finger on the pulse of every character’s strengths, weaknesses, and secrets. And, as she connects their lives through their present circumstances, their pasts, and, in some cases, their deaths, she celebrates the blessings and wisdom of later life and infuses this remarkable novel with hope and laughter.
©2013 Jill McCorkle (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Great concept for a book but this one is all over the place and it doesn't help at all that the reader does nothing for the characters. Perhaps if each character were given a distict voice to match their personalities it would be easier to follow all the jumping from person to person from the past to the present, etc.
I can't reccomend.
This book was a big disappointment for me. It was not at all what I expected. Based on the summary, I thought the story would revolve around the life stories, lessons learned and wisdom of the residents of a home for the elderly as told to two younger women - a hospice volunteer and a hairdresser/manicurist who work there. That is not what the book delivered. The stories were disjointed, it was difficult to keep the characters straight and there were no life lessons or wisdom anywhere to be found. Most of the characters were unlikable and there was no resolution to any of the subplots.
Not at all. I'm attracted to novels that look back at a character's life with reflection and wisdom. This one was just not very well done.
Except for when there was dialogue (which was seldom), she droned on in a boring monotone with no effort to distinguish one narrator/character from another. I would not listen to another book narrated by her.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
At a certain age everyone disappears according to Jill McCorkle in her book,"Life After Life". McCorkle writes multiple stories about several intertwined lives. McCorkle’s implied tautology is that all life is subject to disappearance; i.e. sometimes during life; most often, after death. Disappearance, particularly while alive, comes from a lack of empathy or understanding. Loss of empathy makes the young and misunderstood, and the old and disabled disappear. Every time one fails to listen to what someone is saying, they disappear. Disappearance after death comes from loss of remembrance; i.e. if one’s life is not recorded, it is forgotten. McCorkle’s book is about disappearance of the only life one lives. (Kate Atkinson also wrote a book titled "Life After Life". However Atkinson’s story is a “Slaughter House Five”’ resurrection about an alternative life for the same person. Atkinson’s alternative lives are the result of small changes in the history of one person’s life.)
McCorkle infers that love is a multifaceted experience that leads to happiness, but love is not guaranteed either by wealth, security, or intimacy. McCorkle’s story shows that poverty wears people down, infidelity drives discontent, and every life, whether well or poorly lived, eventually disappears. McCorkle shows one may get an extension of remembrance by having their life experience written down. However, in McCorkle’s story, extended-remembrance is as likely a newspaper article about murder as about a life well-lived.
The narrator was terrible: monotone to the extent that after a short time I could only react negatively to her voice, not listen to the story.
Never got there.
I think the different characters could have come to life with the right reader.
Can I get my book credit back?
I didn't read the print. I listened to the audiobook twice.
Many realistic characters, Touchingly well described.
Emotional story of life as we age. Touching for an aging child of elderly parents from a small town.
Great book if you enjoy an ensemble, character driven story. Wonderfully read.
I love the way that Jill McCorkle paints the characters in all of her books, and Life After Life is no different. I loved that this was a great story with some amazing character studies woven in.
Holly Fielding is a great storyteller, and really picks up on the subtleties of McCorkle's characters.
I really liked listening to Life After Life broken up in pieces on my commute - each time, I felt like I was digging into a different character's story.
The first 3/4 of the book was good, the last 1/4 not so much. It seems the author decided she was tired of the characters and just quickly wrote an ending without regard to plotting or any closure at all.
I got this because I really liked Tending Virginia years ago & because I like southern writers. The narrator was okay, though I wish she had asked some old person like me how to pronounce Serutan and I wished for someone who could have added an authentic Southern accent, like Jenna Lamia. I initially had some of the reservations of some of the other reviewers. I couldn't get the characters straight. They seemed to be wandering aimlessly. Then everybody clicked into place about a third of the way through, and although most of them didn't do what I expected or wanted them to, I got attached to them. They were unpredictable, foolish, reckless and wise. I got so I wanted to check in with them every day, just to see what they were up to, even if I only had ten free minutes. Even the ending, which caught me and apparently 90% of the other reviewers by surprise, felt heartbreaking, unexpected and irreversible, just like real life. To me, the measure of a good book is whether it sticks with me after I have finished it, and I think this one will be with me for a long time.
Told from the perspective of a volunteer at a retirement home and the retirees themselves, this book is insightful in a bittersweet and sad way. A lesson to learn from it is to be sure and tell the people you love that you do love them, and don't ignore them or take them for granted. This book tells the thoughts of older people who wish they had done things differently, but also those who had a wonderful life and are still happy.
Towards the end there is a death that I think it is unnecessary, and this one thing almost spoiled the whole book for me. But that's probably because I'm a softie and always want a happy ending.
I recommend this book, but beware that it is sad.
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