Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: The Other Life

The Other Life by Ellen Meister

Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA/ Putnam
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780399157134

(Received for review from TLC Tours)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

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Book Trailer:

THE OTHER LIFE by Ellen Meister from Ellen Meister on Vimeo.

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

What if you could return to the road not taken?

Quinn Braverman had two secrets she kept from her husband. One was that the real reason she chose him over Eugene, her neurotic, self-loathing, semi-famous ex-boyfriend, was to prove her mother wrong. She could have a relationship with a normal, stable man.

The other was that Quinn knew another life existed in which she had made the other choice. The two lives ran in parallel lines, like highways on opposite sides of a mountain. There, on the other side, the Quinn who had stayed with Eugene was speeding through her high-drama, emotionally exhausting, childless urban life. Here, the Quinn who had married Lewis lived in the suburbs of Long Island, drove a Volvo, and was pregnant with her second child.

But the important part of the secret - the part that terrified and thrilled her - was that she knew it was possible to cross from one life to the other...


Author Ellen Meister takes a break from her lighter, humorous writing to give a readers a touching story of woman, who wonders how life might have been if she had made different choices? Readers will find Meister's book very poignant and emotionally fulfilling. The relationship between a mother and daughter is explored in this novel as well as life choices and the answer to that all important question... what if?

Quinn Braverman, a young mother with another child on the way, like most women, sometimes wonders how her life would be different had she taken a different path. Her marriage to Lewis and her life with her son Issac is everything she thought it would be, but sometimes it seems mundane and little boring. What would life be like if she had stayed with her ex-boyfriend, Eugene or if her mother Nan had not committed suicice? When Quinn learns that the baby she is carrying would likely have a serious birth defect and possibly wouldn't survive she is pushed to her breaking point. You see Quinn is different... She has a knack for finding that sliver of time or place where the parallel life she could have lived is right there, but crossing over could change everything. She has always resisted the temptation... until now.

This was an amazing book! Author Ellen Meister has given readers a book that will touch them to their core. How many of us have wondered about the road not taken? Would we change things if we could? Would that other life be better or worse? Meister's character Quinn has to decide which life she really wants to lead. The one where she has a very stable life and marriage or the one filled with adventure and drama. It might be an easy answer if it weren't for her mother. Meister gives Quinn a very emotional choice and I think that will resonate with a lot of readers, who have lost loved ones or who wish things could be different with a parent or sibling.

Quinn has resisted temptation for a very long time. She doesn't want to loose what she has, until something drastic happens in her life. When a parent learns that something is potentially wrong with an unborn child, that is an emotional upheaval that is difficult to explain, but I think the author did a terrific job of allowing the reader to see just how devastating something like that could be. Quinn's emotions were very raw and she questioned everything she had done in her life. She needed support and that one person she needed most her mother was not there. I think that was the turning point for the character. She needed her mother and in this life she couldn't have that... in the other she could. I would be an extremely difficult choice. Especially knowing that maybe there was something you could have done to change the outcome. I can't imagine what a horrible thing suicide would be to go through.

Essentially this book is about the mother, daughter relationship and the bonds that can transcend time in some ways. It's about being secure in the choices you've made and living your life without regrets. I think the author has given readers a very emotional book. This would be great for book clubs, mothers and daughters and for those who have issues with their own choices in life. I recommend this one to my readers whole-heartedly. It's contemporary fiction at it's best!

The Other Life is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

A former advertising copywriter, Ellen Meister left the business world behind to raise a family and chase her fiction-writing dreams. She lives on Long Island with her husband and her three children. This is her second novel.

1 comment:

trish said...

Wow! So glad you loved it! I think you had me at "emotionally fulfilling". :)