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Sunday, September 24, 2017

How I'm Spending my Afterlife by Spencer Fleury

I was afforded the opportunity to read this book with an Advanced Reader Copy from NetGalley, prior to its publication on October 3rd.

The description intrigued me - a lawyer who is under investigation by the FBI has decided the best way to escape is to fake his death. He's got some money stowed away, he has some set aside for the wife and daughter he's leaving behind, and he's got a plan to head to Costa Rica. But even from the get-go, the reader realizes he's kind of an ass.

We've all probably at some moment or another wondered what our own funeral will be like. Alton gets the chance to actually see his, and what he finds is not at all what he expected. Because of this, he just can't quite seem to get gone.

Told as if he and his wife, Nicole, are being interviewed - either by the same therapist or possibly a therapist for her and an investigator for him? - the narrative switches between their first-person viewpoints.

I feel that this is meant to be a comedic take on the unreliable narrator trend that started with Gone Girl. Alton starts off seeming pretty normal, if a bit of a jerk, but as he goes along, you find yourself in disbelief that this guy graduated law school. Stupidity barely seems to cover it. Nicole definitely seemed like a more sympathetic character at first, but she also isn't close to perfect.

I personally didn't much like this book. While funny at times, I found both narrators to be so unsympathetic that I almost didn't care enough to finish. The problem, of course, of knowing that they're telling the story as past tense (and Alton gives away pretty early on that people find out he's faked his death, so there's no premise that he may get away with it) is that, well, you know he doesn't get away with it. That took away any kind of urgency I had to get to the end of the story.

The only person I really liked in the story was the four-year-old daughter, and we don't ever get to read her thoughts...

I was a little afraid that I was judging harshly, so I read a couple of reviews on other sites, just to get a sense of what other readers are saying. The reviews I read seemed to be overwhelmingly written by guys who thought the book was really funny... I don't normally think of myself as having too much of a girly personality or someone who doesn't appreciate what men like (I'm surrounded by males in my everyday life) but just maybe this is one of those stories that appeals more to guys, because women would want to smack him every step of the way. ;)

Unfortunately, I can't recommend this one. Pin It

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