Life After Life by Jill McCorkle

This is my first Jill McCorkle book- and I must say that I really enjoyed Jill’s way with words and the story-line she created.

The longest and most expensive journey you will ever take is the one to yourself…..

Death is a part of life. It’s not a part of life that many choose to focus on; but it is a part of life. For Joanna, the hospice volunteer at Pine Haven retirement center, death is something that quite literally helped save her life. Joanna, through choices- some good, some bad- had her experience; and it helped put some of life in perspective. While at Pine Haven, she helps the dying let go, and helps make the end of life as comfortable as possible for all involved.

Each resident at Pine Haven- Sadie, Stanley, Marge, Rachel, and Toby are at Pine Haven for various reasons. For some, death is near; for others- death will be coming, but there’s still time- time to make amends, time to right wrongs, time to make sure their family is in a good place. Sadly, there is time for regret for all the residents- regrets of what could have been or the way they should have lived.

Each resident has a story- and some of the stories overlap with Pine Haven’s workers and visitor- Joanna, CJ, and Abby. Jill McCorkle weaves all the stories, intertwines them in ways that at first the reader might not see how it connects- but when they do- it’s moments of greatness.

When I finished reading last night, I felt a mixture of emotions- happiness and sadness, mainly. I enjoyed how the story ended, for the most part, and I thought parts of the last few chapters were very fitting for the characters. Is it a perfect ending? Not exactly- there are some things I wished that were different; but it’s a good ending. Strongly suggest this as a book-club book or with a book-loving friend who will want to discuss- because there is plenty about this book that could (and will!) lead to a great discussion.


8 thoughts on “Life After Life by Jill McCorkle

  1. Carrie Hodges says:

    I was at the Turnrow signing and remembered your blog. I just finished Life After Life. I loved it up until the end. I couldn’t believe an experienced writer took such a horrible misstep at the end–I totally didn’t buy the murder of CJ; it struck me as completely unnecessary. CJ’s murder diluted the effect of Sadie’s death and the return of Dollbaby. I just didn’t see that the plot needed that twist. Andy was a philandering rounder; what real threat did CJ pose? That he might be revealed as Kurt’s father? …that he was having an affair? She wasn’t his only “piece on the side.” I just was horribly disappointed that what should have been a great book was reduced to mere good by the ending. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. I hope my book club agrees to do this book–it will be interesting to get other reactions to the ending. We will probable do Bonaventure this summer–we’ve done some Marquez, so my group is no stranger to magical realism. I look forward to reading it. (By the way, I was sitting at the banquette with Jamie at Turnrow for Jill’s signing.) I teach English and lead a small book group. I’m glad I found this blog and She Reads.
    Carrie Hodges

    • Hey Carrie!

      Yes, I remember seeing you at the LAL bk signing. So glad you found my blog!

      This being my first Jill McCorkle book- I wasn’t sure if that is her normal type of thing (re CJ’s death). I was shocked- but it did not ruin the ending for me- while I did not like that CJ was gone- I think I understood Andy’s motivation. While CJ should not have had much power over him- I think it was a male ego thing to the extreme- a who does she thinks she is, this nobody keeping records on me. Plus, if it was revealed that he was the father- then his wife, his nice life, etc is over (at least in his mind). Factor in child support, alimony, etc- and it just gets more costly. But, mainly, imo, it’s control. Pure male ego and controlling the situation. Also- another factor- while Andy didn’t mind having “pieces on the side”, CJ was supposed to be just his. And that guy she talked to some- the guy at the vet’s I think- well that just was unacceptable to him.

      I hope ya’ll will read The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow this summer- I think it’s wonderful.

      Beginning on Monday at She Reads, the April Online Book Club Discussion will begin. It’s AND THEN I FOUND YOU by Patti Callahan Henry. It’s pretty fast read! Very good, too.
      Thanks for coming by my blog- I look forward to chatting with you more!

      • Carrie Hodges says:

        Thanks for responding. I haven’t read anything else by her either, so I don’t know if the plotting here is typical or not. I didn’t find CJ’s murder implausible–the author had established Andy as someone who wasn’t to be trusted and of course, she had worked in the creepiness factor of his watching CJ, but I still felt the plot didn’t need the sensationlaist element of this murder. Oh, well, it is she who is published after all : ) . I hope we do it for bookclub–it should be good for discussion.
        Happy reading.

      • I’m back and forth on it- I was shocked, I didn’t see it coming; but then I think by the act, by the ending- she might revisit some of these characters. Maybe. I’m not really 100% decided either way about how I feel.

        I def think it’ll make a great book club book. I plan to read The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers soon. I’ve heard many good things!

      • Carrie Hodges says:

        My sister-in-law owns Burkes Bookstore in Memphis and supplies me with ARCs–I’ll ask her about it.Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.