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Review of Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

by - April 06, 2011

Elsewhere is where 15-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different from it. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

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I dug this out of my shelf after reading Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, which I loved. I admit, I didn't enjoy this book as much. I'm trying to work out why, I know that at the start I nearly put it down when I was reading the thoughts of Liz's pet dog (I don't do books with talking animals) and there was various moments throughout the book where the dogs where talking. I've nothing against dogs. I just like them not to talk. Besides, I'm a cat person.

I think it might have been the story itself. It's a fantastic idea and it was written quite well but I got to the middle of the book and Liz is still obsessed with the Observation Deck and I'm like, um, can we move the story along a bit? Then after that it really picks up pace and that felt really rushed. It was really bizarre. 

Plus, the idea of dying at 15 and then steadily becoming younger freaked me out a bit. Growing old is one thing but growing young? No thank you. There was also a few flaws in this book and one really big one. I'm not sure if it was intended as a joke (I don't think it was) but Liz's Grandmother, Betty tell her that she's just went to an exhibit of new paintings by Picasso. This strikes me as impossible.


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