Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin {audiobook}

Title: Elsewhere
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Narrator: Cassandra Morris
Length: 7 hours
Published in: 2005
Genre: fiction
ISBN: 9780307282408
borrowed from library
Reason for Reading: 
browsed the audiobooks at the library and found this as the last at the end of the collection; it sounded interesting, so I got it
Rating: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads):

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is usually warm with a breeze, the sun and the stars shine brightly, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful here. And 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.
It’s where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different from it. 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. She wants to fall in love. 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?

 My Thoughts: I liked everything about this book, except for the ending. Before I began, I thought it might be a little like The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, which I read years ago. But it was very different, from what I remember. I loved this take on what the afterlife is like. In fact, I think I’d almost prefer for this to be what I picture “heaven” to be like.
The jist of Zevin’s Elsewhere is this: It is like Earth, but you age backward from the age you arrived until you are an infant, at which time you are sent back to Earth and “reborn”, but you have no recollection of your previous life. In Elsewhere, you have an avocation (a job) that you like. You can’t really die or get hurt, because you age backwards, so you heal almost instantly. They have Observation Desks (“O.D.s”) where you can pay to look down on earth and see your loved ones. There are even ways you can contact the living, though it’s illegal.
I found that to be a nice way to picture the afterlife.
The ending was a little simple, I thought. I had sort of expected a miracle or something, in a way that Liz could remember her previous life even after she was sent back to Earth. But there was no such thing. It wasn’t a bad ending to the story, but it was a little simple for my taste. And not what I’d been expecting.

One thought on “Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin {audiobook}

  1. I thought this was a sweet and interesting book as well. It was a while ago when I read it, but I, too, remember feeling a little let down at the ending. Not in a “I dislike the ending” way, but just, well…it was done and that was that.

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