December 12, 2012

The Floor Opens Up

Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor

Release Date: April 2011
Publisher: Random House | Broadway Books
Pages: 322 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle ebook
Amazon | Goodreads

Sum It Up (from Amazon)
Twenty-four-year-old Natalie Taylor was leading a charmed life. At the age of twenty four, she had a fulfilling job as a high school English teacher, a wonderful husband, a new house and a baby on the way.  Then, while visiting her sister, she gets the news that Josh has died in a freak accident.  Four months before the birth of her son, Natalie is leveled by loss.  
 
Thoughts on Signs of Life
I saw signs of life while wandering around Barnes and Noble, and I was attracted to the cover. Don’t let the balloons fool you – this is one heartbreaking book.

I identified with Natalie – she was twenty-four with a wonderful job and handsome husband, a new house and a baby on the way. While I don’t have the baby yet, I am in almost the exact same place in my life.

Except.

Natalie’s husband dies unexpectedly in a freak accident. Four months before their son is due.

Can you even imagine?

I felt like I was on edge while I was reading. I kept imagining myself in her situation, analyzing how I might react and feeling like at any moment I might cry.

As an English teacher, Natalie finds a lot of comfort in books. She turns to words and well-loved stories to help her heart heal.

Her grief is raw, uncomfortable and not pretty. She tells you in the beginning that the book comes from things she wrote in her journals and acknowledges that it doesn’t always put her in the most flattering life.

She complains about her family. She feels smothered by her own grief and their attempts to help. She questions and whines and you’ll feel your compassion wearing thin.

But when you feel like judging her reactions, focus instead on the fact that she is honest and real about her emotions. And remember that you aren’t in her place and don’t know what you’d do.

It haven’t read anything quite like this, but I am really glad I picked this one up.  If you enjoy memoirs, I’d recommend picking up Signs of Life.

So Quotable
"I want my students to see that sometimes fiction has answers because our own lives don't, and sometimes we like seeing things resolved in books because the reality is, it's the only time where problems end neatly or where problems end at all. I want my students to see books as a way to learn about other people's and other worlds, but also as a place to learn about themselves."

8 comments:

  1. This one sounds interesting -- I'm a big fan of emotional books. I'm going to add this one onto my TBR list, but for way, way down the road. I don't think I could handle this book at this precise moment in my life... but one day, for sure.

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    1. Definitely put it on your TBR - no matter when you read it! I love when I review a book and then other people want to read it :)

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  2. Replies
    1. It was definitely both! And totally raw - really interesting how she was so honest about how she was feeling (even when it wasn't flattering).

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  3. Ok, you know what? When I read this the first time, I somehow missed that this was a memoir and just thought it was a fiction story. But when I read it a second time I picked up on the fact that it is a memoir. As a fiction story, I'm not sure that I'd love it. BUT...I do love memoirs and despite it not being a super-happy read, I think I'd like it. There's just something about getting a glimpse into someone else's life - when they want to share it with you - that is really neat. Even when the story is a little sad. So, yeah, I think I could handle this one...but I'd have to make sure not to put it behind a heavy or super-long book.

    Love these thoughts and love that you're back. :)

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    1. Yeah, I know what you mean about being in the right frame of mind for it. And I just realized I didn't make it very clear that it was a memoir. My bad! I'm with you on getting a glimpse in to someone else's life - it's so interesting.

      Look forward to hearing your thoughts on it if you get a chance to read it :)

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  4. It's been awhile since I read a memoir and this one sounds really really good.

    Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. Can't wait to hear what you think if you get a chance to read it!

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