REVIEW: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

The Things We Learn When We're DeadTitle: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw
Pages: 501
Published by: Accent Press Ltd
Publication date: 26th January 2017
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Amazon UKWaterstones


Small decisions can have unintended consequences, but sometimes we get a second chance. 

On the way home from a dinner party she didn’t want to attend, 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?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…

My review:

A huge thank you to the author for sending me a signed copy of this book for review!

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead was totally unique and very different to what I was expecting. I wasn’t really sure about it at first as I don’t normally read books like this but the plot was very intriguing and I’m so glad I took the plunge with this! It’s a very moving and impactful story that will stick with you long after you turned the last page!

I think with this book I was expecting a heavy focus on religion but I should have known from the cover that that was not the case. Yes, it does focus on Heaven and God but it was definitely more humorous than I thought it was going to be. I definitely liked the authors take on Heaven and especially God’s character. God was a very eccentric character, he was probably the most surprising thing about this book. He seemed really spaced out and a really chill character. I just found him really funny as he was definitely not what I was expecting! Then there was a lot of other quirky characters as well who welcomed Lorna to Heaven. I really liked that version of Heaven, it just seemed so chill and it was cool that it was set on a spaceship!

Lorna was a very likeable character and I really related to her. A lot of the time she seems really lost and is unsure of herself. She is unsure what she wants to do with her life and what career path she wants to take. She is constantly looking to others for advice or to tell her what she should do. The same questions and feelings have plagued me for years and still do even now when I have a full time job. There’s so much uncertainty in young people and I felt that it was really reflected in Lorna and her situation. The author did a great job with her character!

The majority of the plot is Lorna trying to regain her memories as she remembers nothing about her life. As the story progresses, all her memories come flooding back and this was something I really enjoyed. We learn about her childhood, her family and her friends. But then we also get to see how she is coping in Heaven and coming to terms with what happened. That’s where all the quirky characters come in because there seemed to be a lot of them in Heaven!

I was really shocked by the ending, it was so unexpected and I had no idea it tied in with the start of the book. It’s quite jarring to see something happen in a book that is something we are seeing happen more and more so in reality. It had quite an impact on me and it made the story seem so much more important. In a way, the ending definitely made it a more moving and thought-provoking story. This book has definitely encouraged me not to judge a book before reading it because it was so much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. It was such a fun and quirky read but at the same time an emotional one!

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