The After Life

The After Life

3.3 3
by Daniel Ehrenhaft

Nineteen-year-old Will Shepherd has never met his father, even though they live on opposite ends of Manhattan. Suddenly, within twenty-four hours, Will meets his father and his two halfsiblings, Kyle and Liz, and then his father dies out of the blue.

A clause in the will requires Will to drive back to New York from the funeral in Florida with self-absorbed Kyle and

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Nineteen-year-old Will Shepherd has never met his father, even though they live on opposite ends of Manhattan. Suddenly, within twenty-four hours, Will meets his father and his two halfsiblings, Kyle and Liz, and then his father dies out of the blue.

A clause in the will requires Will to drive back to New York from the funeral in Florida with self-absorbed Kyle and gorgeous, vulnerable Liz, leading to a road trip filled with tensions, escalating risks, and deep revelations.

In the tradition of Brett Easton Ellis and Hunter S. Thompson, Daniel Ehrenhaft crafts a novel of excess, a coming-of-age story with grit and edge that ultimately offers redemption to three characters in desperate need.

About the Author: Daniel Ehrenhaft lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ehrenhaft's (Drawing a Blank) offbeat book about three damaged teens on an out-of-control road trip manages to be simultaneously funny and tragic. When their father dies suddenly, twins Kyle and Liz, and half-brother Will (from their father's first marriage and whom the man barely acknowledged) find themselves in a Florida law office watching a DVD. In it, their father not only comically announces, "I'm dead!," but also tells Will he can have $2 million-much less than the twins inherit-if he can drive the man's Volvo from Miami to New York City in 48 hours. (Will's uncle crashed his car-perhaps intentionally-after 9/11, and Will has yet to learn to drive.) As the siblings embark on this bizarre road trip, each works through tricky feelings towards their father and each other. Sociopath Kyle resents Will, Liz wants to help Will, and Will mostly drinks, takes drugs and passes out. The insanity only accelerates: Kyle learns that his business partner is cheating him out of his share from, their prep school dating Web site, unless he can date Liz; Will and Liz take Ecstasy at a party, share a slow dance and kiss; and when the three finally reach New York, they discover their dad has one trick left. Readers will almost certainly feel compelled to finish this surreal trip, even if, at the end, they are nearly as exhausted as the protagonists. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Jan Chapman
Nineteen-year-old Will lives with his mother, an art gallery owner, in New York City. His millionaire father abandoned Will's mother years ago, and he recently lost his favorite uncle to suicide. Will eases his sorrow by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Although he knows where his father lives and that he has a stepbrother and stepsister, he has never met them. One day, fueled by alcohol, he calls his stepsister, Liz, who invites him to a party at her family's apartment. Will finally meets his father, who turns out to be a self-involved drug user. The morning after the party, Will learns that his father suddenly has died. Will attends the funeral in Florida, where he learns that his father's will has an unusual bequest. Will stands to inherit two million dollars of his father's estate if he drives his father's beat-up Volvo from Florida to New York. The problem? Will does not drive. His stepbrother Kyle offers to drive them all back to New York, and the journey proves to be full of surprises for the three reluctant siblings. This novel has a promising premise: a road trip that could provide fascinating opportunities for self-discovery for all three teens. But despite the fact that it is a cleverly written story, something is missing. The reader never really gets inside Will's head because he is constantly wasted. In addition, the revelation that fuels the story's denouement seems forced. Still road-trip novels have lots of appeal, and older teens might enjoy the dysfunctional angst that drives the story.
Children's Literature - Danielle Williams
Every once in a while a book is written that is at the same time difficult to put down and as pathetic as any tripe written by high school creative writing classes. Ehrenhaft has written one such book. There is no doubt that he is a gifted writer. He has created interesting characters, and woven a tale that is, at times, fascinating; yet, his characters are so shallow and annoying that you wish you could reach into the novel and shake some sense into them. Will Shepherd and Liz and Kyle Shepherd share the same father, though they never meet until the day before their father dies. After attending the funeral in Florida, they are forced by the terms of their father's will to drive back to New York together in order to receive their inheritance. Their journey together is disturbing, funny, and sad at the same time, and ends, not with them as fast friends and close family, but with the promise that they do have the chance to grow to know and love each other. There is no doubt that their father's legacy to them is not just money, but also bitterness and a dependency on drugs and alcohol to make it through the day. But, by the end of the novel, there is also hope that they can grow beyond their father's influence and become better people than they appear to be throughout the novel.
Kirkus Reviews
Initially, the intriguing plot device of this teen problem novel is enticing, but on the whole, it fails to deliver. Will, a New York City 19-year-old living with his artsy mother, knows of his biological father but has never met him, until his stepsister's party invitation lands Will at his father's apartment. He's shocked to learn that his dad is a filthy-rich aging hippie addicted to alcohol and cocaine. The following morning, a hung-over Will is dumbfounded when his stepsister informs him of his father's heart attack and death. An alcohol-soaked funeral in Florida and subsequent return road trip to New York, both tasks to collect a huge inheritance, shape the bulk of this narrative told from three alternating points of view. Will, his stepsister Liz and her twin brother Kyle take turns revealing their inner angst and doubts about their strange and pathetic extended family. Haphazard writing hampers random stops along the journey of self-discovery until the travelers arrive in Manhattan-only to discover more family secrets. Promising but unfulfilling. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.55(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Overall I enjoyed the book, although it strays from the plot every once in a while. But you MUST finish the book if you start it. The ending is beautiful, suprising, and something you'll never forget.
Guest More than 1 year ago
wen i saw it the book looked fine but it was one of those books that took a long tim to get to the point. it had maybe 164 pages and it really got to the 'road trip' on the 163 just sayin that ther was toooooo much backround info
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. It made me laugh a lot. The main character is the best. Things get a little weird in the middle. You should read this just b/c it is funny