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Thursday, September 15, 2011

LIVES FOREVER CHANGED -- A REVIEW

What if you were just going along in your life, doing the usual chores and maintaining the relationships that you have almost come to take for granted...and then, suddenly, everything was no longer usual? Loved ones were seemingly zapped into nothingness, with no particular rhyme or reason. You're having dinner, you go to the kitchen, and when you return your family is gone.

These are the scenarios that plague a suburban American town in The Leftovers. Truly, the ones left behind cannot understand why they were left, or why the ones "raptured," if that is what this is, were chosen. They were just ordinary people, some of them not even religious. So why?

Slowly we move through the lives of those left behind, seeing the shells that some of them have become. A few of them simply cannot stand having life that makes no sense anymore and join a cult-like group called the Guilty Remnant. These folks wear white, have taken a vow of silence, and have set themselves up to convert the others via their roles as Watchers. They follow, they stare, and they try to recruit.

In a sense, the narration feels muted and emotionless, but I believe the author purposely chose this somewhat detached style to characterize how flat the landscape is in a life that has been decimated. Emotions are tricky and they betray us. Flat, detached, going-through-the-motions life feels more appropriate, perhaps.

I liked some characters better than others, but in each case, I could see why they behaved the way they did. And throughout this story, with its unexpected ending, I felt as though they were people I could connect with...if they would allow connections to happen. As usual, Perrotta delivers a masterful story. Five stars.

10 comments:

  1. Sounds intriguing. I used to have nightmares about this happening to me when I was a child. Imagine, just a child and already I sensed something, a warning maybe. Not sure. But this book definitely sounds fascinating. Best of luck, Perrotta. And thanks for the review, Laurel.

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  2. Oh, so did I, Joylene....I remember coming home from school one day and nobody was there for hours and hours. I couldn't even find the dog!

    Horrific!

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. I remember watching a movies as a young teen about being left behind and it was scary.

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  4. I think that concept of being "left behind" is a recurring fear in all of us. I like the way the author dealt with it.

    Thanks for stopping by, Nise.

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  5. This book sounds fascinating! Thanks for writing a review(with no spoilers)!

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  6. Thanks, Mandy. It's hard to tell just enough without telling too much, isn't it? I'm glad that I accomplished that...and glad you could visit.

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  7. Sounds good! I've got Little Children by the same writer - haven't read it yet, though.

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  8. Oh, I hope you do read Little Children...I loved that one!

    Thanks for stopping by, Judith.

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  9. I have seen mixed reviews of this one.I grew up always believing in "The Rapture" or basically something to the effect of this book...I also read The Left Behind books which I really enjoyed....although this seems to be a much more lighthearted take than that series was.

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  10. Thanks for stopping by, Tara. I did enjoy this book very much. Unexpected twists and turns.

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