Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was February's book club choice but I only managed to finish it this week, 6 weeks after I started. It's quite a weighty tome stretching to 621 pages and I found myself dipping in and out of it rather than devouring it like a lot of the book club did. This didn't hamper my enjoyment of it much though.
Being born in 1911 meant that Ursula lives and experiences the second world war. Kate Atkinson has found several angles to approach this from. In one life we see Ursula living in Germany and has regular contact with Adolf Hitler himself, mostly in the mid 1930's. The book ask's itself not just 'What would I do differently?' but also 'What would I change?'. Does she pull the trigger on Hitler in the mid 30's to stop the war ever happening? And even if she doesn't in one life, does she in another? I must admit her time in Germany was the least engaging for me as I enjoyed her relationship with her family. Once she returns to the war in another life in London however I think this is the strongest part of the book.
The main gripe with the book club though was the ending. How do you end it? Can she just keep being reincarnated for ever more? I won't reveal how it does end but I disagreed with most of the club as I thought the ending was suitable and bitter-sweet. It was a long read, a sometime burden if I wasn't enjoying a certain route she had taken, but that route always ended a new path was taken as a new life. I would recommend it to most but perhaps make sure you devour it in a few sittings rather than the two dozen or so I had!
If you want to join the book club just add yourself to the Goodreads club and the Facebook club. Choices are posted at the end of every month to pick from and the winner announced when we chat about the previous book. We chat on Goodreads on the last Sunday of the month at 4pm but also have comments on Facebook too so if you only use one of these (Goodreads is best) then it doesn't matter.