The first thing I want to say about this book is WOW. I loved it. I did not want to put this down because I had to finish. This really does show the different feelings people go through after a severe trauma. My favorite quote was "Wasn't it enough that death could snatch away life so quickly? Did it really have to do so without warning? Without any rhyme or reason? A thoughtless, avaricious grab at whoever happened to be standing in the way?"
That to me says a lot. I received this book from Katie Ganshert for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Thoughtful and insightful, almost like a true story - its so real and lifelike!
February 11, 2017
"We worship a God who might not give us the miracle, but He will always give us the comfort". What a great take away from this thoughtfully written and insightful novel. The second book I have read from Katie Ganshert, and the first full length story.
In the opening scene you are taken right to the heart of a terrorist attack on the L transit system of Chicago. You are thrown immediately into the struggle of lone survivor, Autumn Manning, to return to life as she once knew it. One year on, and she is living, breathing & sleeping the events of that day. Obsessed with the dead, and the only way it seems to get through each moment - she can only function by researching each and everyone who died. You will feel a deep empathy with Autumn, as those around her suggest that her timeline for closure, is drawing near. As the story unravels, she becomes acquainted with the 12 year old daughter of one of the victims. Through letters, she slowly - and very naturally - becomes entwined with the Elliot family.
I loved all the questions that went through my mind as I read. Why does one receive the miracle of life & survival and not another? Why would God choose to let you stay? Surrounded by the reminders that others on the train that day had perhaps greater reasons to live, that analysis and research into the families was insightful. A novel rarely takes me to that place of introspection. You will feel almost like you are reading a true story, so much so that I kept thinking 'Did Chicago ever have some kind of bomb attack on a train'?! I loved how that as you turn each page, there is no way to know, which direction the thought process or the action of those within the book will go.
I appreciated the realistic way in which this was written. I felt that Autumns journey, and that of Paul and his children seemed very lifelike. Just as one would act or react in a similar situation. The return of hope that comes oh so gradually is quite beautiful. Letting go of the guilt, whether justified or not, is like finding a new light to lift your head to. The awesome promise of comfort from one who will weep with you, as Christ does, is so very healing to those who seek him. I was excited when my favourite verse from the New Testament appeared within the pages "Jesus wept".
Thank you so much to Waterbrook Multnomah for the complimentary advanced copy, this was a sheer delight to read, and really stretched my thought process as the characters faced these truly difficult challenges. This book has truly left a powerful impression on me. This is my honest review.
Life After is about the effects on the lives of several people plus their family members when an explosion goes off in a commuter train in Chicago. Autumn is the only survivor, twenty two others are dead.
It was heart wrenching in places. Autumn questions why God allowed her to survive but not any of the others. She spends her time clipping obituaries of the victims and pasting them in a notebook. Then pulling them out and reading them over and over. She also visits them in the cemeteries.
Everywhere she goes she is recognized as the only survivor, so she spends lots of time in her apartment. Her family worries about her. Then she starts getting letters from the twelve yr old daughter of one of the victims.
I was really moved by all the emotion the author was able to write into the different characters. They were so real I wanted to reach out and hug them or have a cup of coffee and chat with them.
This was a very different novel from many I've read and I got so engrossed in the story I forgot where I was some of the time. It is worth every minute I spent reading it and I encourage everyone to grab a copy and give it a try.
I received an ARC copy from the author/publisher and was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise.
Oh, this is just the most beautifully crafted book - full of honesty and pain and hope and truth. I have stayed up late two nights to finish it, and it was worth every yawn and those inevitable bloodshot eyes.
The wonderful title, Life After, refers to people picking up the pieces of their lives after an elevated train bombing kills 22 Chicagoans. The lone survivor from the train is Autumn Manning, but there are other victims - relatives and friends whose lives were also shattered by the explosion that killed their loved ones. This novel is the story of how their lives overlapped, and how they dealt with their grief. It is the story of a phoenix rising from the ashes, and becoming more beautiful than ever.
It's hard to pick a favorite quote, but I think this one summarizes the crux of the book: "It was obvious that he wanted to forget what she was desperate to remember." Because the twist to this tale is that not everyone's dreams were dashed in the "Tragedy on the Tracks." For one man, this sudden and unforeseeable accident seemed an answer to prayer. The guilt and shame he felt over his relief was what made the day a tragedy for him, and he worked hard to bury those memories. Autumn, on the other hand, was obsessed with her loss of memories about that day and wracked with survivor guilt. Their unexpected friendship gave them both the opportunity to face the truth about themselves, that fateful day, and God's hand in it.
I love that Ganshert does not try to answer hard questions with easy platitudes. Like Job, her characters learn that the most important question is not "why?" but "Who?" This is a lovely story of redemption for those who decide to face their brokenness honestly and give all the pieces to God. It was a joy to see the puzzle come together under His hands and know there is, truly, Life After.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher, and this is my honest review.
WoW! My first book from author Katie Ganshert.. Contemporary novel. I didn't know what to expect from this book, had heard that it was good, but was unprepared for how good it actually is.
Autumn can't remember what actually happened on the day of the "Great Train Incident." All she knows is twenty-two people died, and she was the lone miraculous survivor. She was, at first, mistakenly identified as the wife of an author named Paul Elliot. So, Mr. Elliot's family went thru the excitement that their loved one survived and then the heartbreaking reality that she did not.
Autumn can't sleep, can't eat, can't go near public transportation, all because of the bombing of the train. She is obsessing over the dead, keeps a secret binder full of obituaries and articles pertaining to the terrorist act. The terrorist that placed the bomb on the train is still on the loose.
Her family worries about her. She sees a therapist regularly, but can't quit secretly roaming the cemetery late at night, when she can't sleep. She doesn't understand why twenty-two people lost their lives and she alone was spared.
One day, she receives a letter from Paul Elliot's young daughter. And her life begins to change.
Highly recommend this book. I received an advanced readers copy for my honest opinion (which will remain in my library Forever).