There are two things that attract most people to a book they’re unfamiliar with: the title and the cover. With a title like The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, Charlie Laidlaw was never going to go far wrong and when you add this adorable book cover you have a winning combination.
A few weeks ago I was approached by Charlie Laidlaw to review his book. I do love the opportunity to help out those hard working authors out there with a review. I received a free copy of his book in return for an honest review. So here goes!
Lorna has died and gone to Heaven (where’s Bryan Adams when you need him?) Only heaven isn’t exactly what she was expecting. God (who was basically Dumbledore – whom needless to say, I loved) isn’t what she was expecting. Yes, we are made in God’s own image, but this was done through an aliens compassion in supporting an ailing human population. Have I lost you? Probably. This is hard to explain without reading the book.
The point is that Lorna now has to piece together her memories to work out God’s plan for her. You see not everyone makes it to Heaven. She is here for a specific purpose, but before she can move forward with that she has to cast herself back into the life she lived.
Lorna’s life was filled with ups and downs. There is bereavement, unrequited love, prickly family relationships and an enduring if unlikely friendship.
The thing I liked about this book was that there wasn’t a single character that I didn’t warm to. It was just jammed full of nice people trying to live their lives and making a mess of it as we humans do.
That’s not to say that there weren’t any character flaws. In fact whilst she did have a lot of blanks to fill in, Lorna did do too much navel gazing for my liking. Mind you some people are like this, poring over and picking apart every tiny little thing in their lives. I picture Lorna as someone who doesn’t smile very much. She’s too busy fretting. Life is too short love, I wanted to say, but then I suppose you’d know that being in heaven and all…
The one drawback of this book was that it was wa-a-ay too long. There was a lot of the story that felt unnecessary to the whole, but at its heart there is a beautiful tale here of the choices we make in life. The Things We Learn When We’re Dead was a poignant, heart warming read that has stayed with me after I finished it.
Next week I get onto a subject I am fascinated by, dinosaurs. I’ll be reviewing my very own personally signed copy of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. Come back and hunt some dinosaurs with me on Monday.