The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is about how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, but how we can sometimes get a second chance.
On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.
It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN, because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… or does God have a higher purpose after all?
Despite that, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is neither sci-fi nor fantasy. It is a book about memory and how, if we could remember things slightly differently, would we also be changed?
In HVN, Lorna can at first remember nothing. But as her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that, maybe, she can find a way back home.
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About the Author
Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defence intelligence. He now runs his own marketing consultancy in East Lothian. He is married with two grown-up children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I feel like I'm missing out on something here. A lot of you wildly loved this book. I just... Half-didn't get it. I guess in the end, this book wasn't for me, because I found it pretty trigerring and hard to stomach. The author himself commented to me that this book was supposed to be light-hearted, and some of the other readers say that as well, but I just don't get what's light-hearted about having a sibling die in a way that could have been avoided, having some really regrettable misses in relationships and in the end making a final decision about one's life. I just... None of this is light-hearted. Not to me. This is why it was really hard to read this book. I felt everything much too keenly and was rather inclined to weep, and not laugh. This book felt like it was soaked in regret and pain. I think that it's only me who felt like that, reading it..? Despite that, I finally got into it, after I was halfway. I have to say, the ending was nice indeed, but that still didn't fix the entire experience for me. And I kind of feel bummed out about this. But I guess you can't really always like and understand the things everyone else does, right? I thank the author for giving me this book in exchange to my honest review. I'm truly sorry I probably missed the point. At least you know the review is honest.
I really liked this story. It was a unique sci-fi twist on The Wizard of Oz. At the beginning of the story, I had no idea what was going to happen. I didn’t understand where Lorna went, but I was so curious to see what would happen. I noticed that there were a lot of things from Lorna’s life appearing around her on the ship, including her pet hamster and actors like Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant. In the second half of the story, I found there was too much about Lorna’s life on Earth. The story alternated between her life on the ship and her life on Earth, but there was less about the ship in the latter half. I wished there was more about the ship, because it was so unusual. However, by the end of the story, I could see that the end of her life on Earth was important to the story. I really liked this story. It ended on a cliffhanger, so I would love to see what happens next! I received a copy of this book from Reads and Reels Blog Tours.
"The Things We Learn When We're Dead" by Charlie Laidlaw is an excellent fun book that allows you just to relax, enjoy and be emerged in an alternate world of what we believe to be heaven. This book is a very quirky take of what the author contrives to be the afterlife, and what an imagination he has, it's certainly nothing I could have come up with. When Lorna Love is run over, she wakes in a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident ...Or does God have a higher purpose after all? I loved reading the stories of Lorna's childhood as she remembered them, growing up in North Berwick, Scotland. It was very easy to feel her emotions too and she was a very likeable character, a joy to read and certainly the perfect and appropriate candidate for the story. The infestation of hamsters stuck in the ventilation shaft that God is responsible for, a McDonalds for the crew onboard ship are all a hoot and I really could go on endlessly about all the amusing little things that make up this book. This book is a great read and as long as you keep an open mind, is a fabulously fun way to spend a few hours. 4 stars.