Boozy Book Club has been a reality for a couple of years, but this is my first time posting about it. It’s my same gang of peeps, one of us picking a book that only half of us will read but all show up for the club because drinks and food are sure to be involved. This month’s outing was no different, with BBC reading Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life.
There is definitely a spoiler element with this book. However, those of us who finished the book on time didn’t care about ruining it for the book clubbers who still had some reading ahead of them (though I won’t reveal anything important in this post). Having finished it or not, all of us were left with the question about the purpose of the main character’s (Ursala Todd) life? If you care to pick it up, you’ll quickly learn that Ursala is re-born over and over again, reliving certain events, changing the outcome of others. What little details, we asked ourselves, were altered or shaken to produce a significantly different outcome for Ursala and those that she loved? Why was this phenomenon happening to her?
The two of us who finished the book shared our theory about Ursala’s reincarnations, and why the book was finally able to come to an end (if one agrees that it eventually came to an end). Before coming up with this theory, I was left a bit unsatisfied with the book – kind of the way I felt about the Sopranos finale. But with time, and the space to give it my own understanding, I eventually came to appreciate and really be awed at the book’s ending (as I did with the Sopranos).
It’s a hearty, thick read, but dense with excellent writing – Atkinson is witty and nimble with her words. And the characters are rich and interesting and alive. She brings us in close to the atrocities of war, to family dysfunction, and to sibling love. I recommend it as a book club read as there is so much to dissect and to connect to and to wonder about.
Life After Life is Boozy Book Club Approved!
The Federal Bar, Downtown Long Beach
Past BBC Reads:
In One Person by John Irving
Rating: BBC Approved
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Rating: BBC Approved