That’s exactly what I wanted to do when I finished Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. I wanted to flip back to the front cover and start all over again. And I could have because that’s what her main character Ursula does for most of her life. Lives.
Remember Choose Your Own Adventure novels? If you chose the wrong adventure, you’d wind up dead but then you’d just flip back to the previous section and choose again. That’s what Ursula Todd does in Life After Life. She winds up dead a lot but then the story starts all over again and she has the chance to choose differently (although, she’s not always sure why).
When Ursula gets to start again, you (as the reader) get to choose how to react. Sometimes, it’s a PHEW because Ursula’s life has become a train wreck. Other times, you can’t help but laugh out loud (always in public). I also loved the rich descriptions of places and times — from the British countryside to wartime London. It’s the kind of descriptors that keep you wanting more.
Judging from this novel alone, I can only conclude that Atkinson is incredibly clever. More clever than Churchill, Hitler and all the Todds combined.
One review suggested that she is perhaps, too clever. I couldn’t tell if they were sarcastic or just plain ignorant. Let’s blame sexism. I loved this one so much I could read it a thousand times again and again and again.