April 18, 2012
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.
Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?
This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
Liz was a great character, just for saying and doing all the things that a normal girl would do when she died. Owen was great too, even though he didn't show up til' halfway through the book. Their love story was really what kept me reading, because I just had to know what happened to them. Elsewhere was interesting in it's way of describing the after-death place. I had never really thought of it like that, and aging backwards all the years you lived sounds pretty cool. I don't mean I would like it, it just seems a cool way to write it.
"Dead," Aldous says, "is little more than a state of mind. Many people on Earth spend their whole lives dead, but your probably too young to understand what I mean."