The Other Life

The Other Life

3.9 45
by Ellen Meister
     
 

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If you could return to the road not taken...would you?

Quinn Braverman has a perfect life, with a loving husband, an adorable son, and another baby on the way.

Quinn also has an ominous secret: she knows that another version of her life exists...one in which she made totally different life choices. But she's never been tempted to switch lives-until a

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Overview

If you could return to the road not taken...would you?

Quinn Braverman has a perfect life, with a loving husband, an adorable son, and another baby on the way.

Quinn also has an ominous secret: she knows that another version of her life exists...one in which she made totally different life choices. But she's never been tempted to switch lives-until a shocking turn of events pushes her to cross over, and she discovers the one person she thought she'd lost forever: Her mother.

But Quinn can't have both lives. Soon, she must decide which she really wants-the one she has...or the other life...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Meister (Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA) ineffectively tackles the question of what one would do if it were possible to choose the path not taken. When 36-year-old Quinn Braverman, a happily married mother of a six-year-old boy, learns that her unborn daughter has a potentially fatal brain abnormality, she's overcome with the desire to just let her own life wash away. As a child, Quinn discovered she could float from one life to another through portals. In the laundry room of her Long Island home, Quinn has found such a gateway in a crack in the wall and decides to go back to the glitzy life she could have led if she had not left her neurotic ex-boyfriend for her husband. In this other life, she can also seek the comforts of her mother, who, in Quinn's current state of being, killed herself as a result of depression. Quinn repeatedly chooses to go back to her "what if" life, knowing that leaving her son and husband behind could emotionally scar them forever. Quinn's selfishness overshadows any sympathy to be had for her character. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Gripping! A truly fascinating story of love, loss, and a magical place in between."
– Beth Harbison, New York Times bestselling author of Hope In A Jar

"The Other Life is a provocative and unique tale of the road not taken. Ellen Meister puts a magical, masterful spin on one of my favorite questions: "What if?" What if you took both roads? You won't want to miss this one!"
– Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon

"Ellen Meister makes a big leap toward the literary in The Other Life, a book where "What if" becomes the most powerful question in the world. This is the thinking woman's beach read, a love story to the modern family, written with a deep and lovely understanding of mothers and daughters and the sacrifices they'll make for each other."
– Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

"Intriguing, stimulating, original, unpredictable, frightening, utterly engaging-The Other Life reminded me why I love to read. Ellen Meister is a writer with a limitless future."
– Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Second Opinion and The Last Surgeon

"In her riveting breakthrough novel, The Other Life, gifted storyteller Ellen Meister doesn't just peek in on a young mother who straddles between love and doubt, she blows it open with a story of one who straddles two parallel universes, each with its own perilous decisions. It is a brave and honest exploration of the precarious limits of motherhood that will make readers wonder if Meister followed them with a probe and felt their racing hearts and hopes. If you have ever second guessed the biggest decisions of your life (and who hasn't), The Other Life is a captivating homage to the question, does love conquer all?"
– Saralee Rosenberg, author of Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead and Fate and Ms. Fortune

"I loved this emotional powerhouse of a novel that asks a daring "what if…" and manages to be as charming and funny as it is thoughtful and moving. Brava, Ellen Meister!"
– Melissa Senate, author of See Jane Date and The Secret of Joy

Kirkus Reviews

Instead of her usual lighthearted comedy, Meister (The Smart One,2008, etc.) attempts spiritual uplift with this semi-supernatural story about a Long Island woman in crisis who accesses portals to an alternative life.

In the 1973 prologue, pregnant and depressed Nan goes into labor as she is attempting suicide. Thirty-six years later Nan's daughter Quinn is living a comfortable suburban life with husband Lewis, who owns a fleet of taxi cabs, and 6-year-old son Isaac, a sensitive artistic prodigy. Pregnant with their second child, Quinn loves Lewis, but she is keeping two secrets: one, that she married him in part to prove to her mother—bipolar Nan, who committed suicide years earlier in 2002—that she could choose a normal guy; and two, that she is aware of the existence of a parallel world in which she is still with her old boyfriend, shock jock Eugene. Quinn carefully avoids the "portal" she knows waits for her in the basement, a "rupture in her universe." Then amniocentesis reveals that the baby she is carrying has a rupture in her skull that may cause major birth defects or worse. Deciding what to do about her pregnancy, Quinn is drawn through the portal into a world where she lives an exciting, childless life with neurotic but exciting Eugene and where Nan is still alive—Nan evidently opened up the portal during her suicide attempt/birthing. As life in her married present gets more stressful, Quinn travels more frequently through the portal to be with Nan, and therefore Eugene. Not that there is much suspense about what choices she is going to make. She'd never desert little Isaac, and Lewis is a selflessly devoted husband, while Eugene is not only creepy but increasingly less attractive. And although the pregnancy is fraught with problems, the overtly stated pro-choice, anti-abortion message makes the outcome a no-brainer.

Despite the (rickety) fantasy bells and whistles, the end result is a standard-issue domestic tearjerker.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101486153
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/17/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
229,584
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"This is the thinking woman's beach read, a love story to the modern family, written with a deep and lovely understanding of mothers and daughters and the sacrifices they'll make for each other." —-Joshilyn Jackson, author of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

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