Life After Life

3.5
Jill McCorkle s first ovel in seventeen years is alive with the daily triumphs and challenges of the local and staff of Pine Haven Estates, a retirement facility, which is 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 daughte; 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 divorced, whose decision to rejoi 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 han 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 both ases, through their deaths, she celebrates the blessings and wisdom of later life and infuses this remarkable novel with hope and laughter.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Series
Number of Pages
352
Publication Date
Published March 26th 2013 by A Shannon Ravenel Book

Public Commentary

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he early chapters read like a catalogu of stories as they rotate through the lives of people connected to the Pine Haven retirement center.

“ The heart, ” one resident observes, “ is a tough old organ. ” Although these elderly people live alone in their own rooms, McCorkle focuses on how they interact with each other and the world.

She chose Pine Haven to live near the site of an affair that once gave her life meaning, but stil she can ’ t really expec that she ’ s stuck among all these yahoos in the “ home of lard, Jesus, sugared-up tea. ” Meanwhile, Toby Tyler lives in a fit of good cheer, not even in or out of the closet.The day of reckoning may be nearb, but ll of these characters are still flirting with illusions, a theme McCorkle mines for both comedy and tragedy.

And when the final pages suddenly collapse in an avalanche of melodrama, it ’ s ard not to onclude that the ovel simply got away from her.Far better are the brief excerpts from the journal of one of the volunteers at Pine Haven who comforts the dying.

As the people of Pine Haven know, life is short, and there are lots of good books out there.

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Kendra, on the other hand is purely, inexplicably evil and makes life miserable for her tragically sad daughter who finds a second home at Pine Haven.

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is all there is. ” ― Jill McCorkle, Life After Life I had anted to writ anothe for some time as McCorkle is an author local to me.

hen a coworker who visits a rural NC nursing home that I sed to work in gave me a copy and said, " Thos are our folks. " So I was actually worried when I egan to ead and had no connection, but after setting it aside and picking it up a few days later these characters suddenly came alive for me .... these were my folks with all their wisdom, faults, regrets and glories.

It almost reads as a ollection of short stories as the reader follows the lives of many characters who all have Pine Haven, the nursing center in small town Fulton NC, in common.

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Sometimes we see person in action; often the chapters consist of the conversation and reflections of the haracter.

We meet ome of thos people only in Joanna ’ s entries, which gives a tad of confusion as well.

Joanna ’ s notebook entries are especially touching, and we do et to know all of the dynamic and interesting Pine Haven residents through longer chapters: Sadie, Rachel, Stanley, and Toby in particular.

And neither of these has more than a very indirect connection to Pine Haven; they just distract from the warm and quirky people we meet there. “ Disappearance ” is a theme that runs throughout Life After Life.

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Based on the summary, I believed he story would revolve around the life stories, lessons learned and wisdom of the citizen of th home for the elderly as told to two younger women- a hospice volunteer and a hairdresser/manicurist who work there.

The tales were disjointed, it was easy to hid the characters straight and there were no life lessons or wisdom anywhere to be found.

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After the characters ere o well developed, I had trouble seeing certain events occurring.

Why is Joanna interested in Ben?

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© Nicole Waggonner