The Rest of Her Life: Book summary and reviews of The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty

The Rest of Her Life

by Laura Moriarty

The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty X
The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Aug 2007
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

In The Rest of Her Life, Laura Moriarty delivers a luminous, compassionate, and provocative look at how mothers and daughters with the best intentions can be blind to the harm they do to one another.

Leigh is the mother of high-achieving, popular high school senior Kara. Their relationship is already strained for reasons Leigh does not fully understand when, in a moment of carelessness, Kara makes a mistake that ends in tragedy -- the effects of which not only divide Leigh's family, but polarize the entire community.

We see the story from Leigh's perspective, as she grapples with the hard reality of what her daughter has done and the devastating consequences her actions have on the family of another teenage girl in town, all while struggling to protect Kara in the face of rising public outcry. Like the best works of Jane Hamilton, Jodi Picoult, and Alice Sebold, Laura Moriarty's The Rest of Her Life is a novel of complex moral dilemma, filled with nuanced characters and a page-turning plot that makes readers ask themselves, "What would I do?"

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Powerful, original, and utterly absorbing, Moriarty's novel will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned." - Booklist.

"The intriguing supporting characters are limited by not-very-likable Leigh's POV, but Moriarty effectively conveys Leigh's longing for escape and wariness of reckoning." - Publishers Weekly.

"Moriarty's honest novel about an ordinary family whose life changes in one extraordinary moment resonates like an emotional tuning fork." - Jodi Picoult.

"Like Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie and Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, Laura Moriarty's first novel, The Center of Everything, owed its success to the immense likability of a young female protagonist. Mixing just the right combination of solemnity and cheer, Moriarty turned a potentially sappy coming-of-age tale into a full-on charmer with the voice of her 10-year-old narrator, Evelyn Bucknow of Kerrville, Kan., who courageously traversed a hard-luck childhood without any false moves. In her second novel, the author has achieved an even more impressive goal, inspiring compassion for a character unblessed with Evelyn's immediate appeal…Moriarty's novel shows that it is not literature's job to be uplifting, or even to be beautiful. It is literature's job to say yes, to every corner of every life: yes to disaffected characters like Leigh as well as to winsome ones like Evelyn Bucknow; yes to grief as much as to solace; yes to wrongdoers as well as to the wronged; and yes most of all to "our weak attempts," as Leigh acknowledges, "to feel each other's burdens." - The Washington Post - Donna Rifkind.

"Well-written, convincing and impossible to put down." - Kirkus Reviews.

This information about The Rest of Her Life shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

SAM

What do you do when the world crashes down on you?
It took a lot of pages before I began to enjoy this book, but, in the end, it was thought provoking and ended much better than I initially thought it could.
The characters: Mother, Leigh, a teacher. Father, Gary, college professor. Teenage daughter, Kara. Preteen son, Justin. Daughter's friend, Willow. Miscellaneous friends and colleagues of parents.
Mother/daughter and, to a lesser extent, father/son relationships are what this book is about. Neither is explored fully, but are explored around a snapshot in time.
Kara and her friend Willow are riding in Kara's car after school one day, when Kara hits and kills another teenager. The ensuing story is about what you would expect. The important thing is how the characters interact.
Predictably, the mother and daughter, who already have problems, experience some serious alienation. Less predictably, but as a predictable mirror image, the father really can't relate to his son, who isn't very tough or 'manly'. As Gary protects and guides Kara through the aftermath of the accident, his distance from Justin grows, as does Kara's isolation from Leigh, and Leigh's and Gary's from each other. Leigh has expressed concern for the victim, who was a former student, and her mother, and feels Kara needs to take responsibility for her actions, though she isn't sure exactly what that means. Gary is simply protective and considers little else.
Kara's journey through the aftermath of the accident, and how she determines her responsibility and resolves it, is a step up from the introductory chapters of the book. And Leigh, who is not particularly lovable, especially early in the book, becomes much more interesting. Even Gary learns a bit about relating to Justin.
It ends better than it begins. Keep reading.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Laura Moriarty Author Biography

Laura Moriarty was born in Honolulu in 1979. She earned a degree is social work before returning for her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She was the recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She currently lives with her daughter in Lawrence, Kansas, and is at work on her next novel.

Bibliography
The Center of Everything, 2003
The Rest of Her Life, 2007
While I'm Falling (2009)
The Chaperone (2012)
American Heart (2018)
While I'm Falling, 2009
The Chaperone, 2012

Author Interview

Other books by Laura Moriarty at BookBrowse
  • The Chaperone jacket
  • The Center of Everything jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Black Sun
    Black Sun
    by Rebecca Roanhorse
    Reading the first book in a series is always difficult because readers know that, by definition, it ...
  • Book Jacket: Somewhere in the Unknown World
    Somewhere in the Unknown World
    by Kao Kalia Yang
    Resettled refugees are mostly invisible. Their needs are rarely publicized and their struggles are ...
  • Book Jacket: The Orchard
    The Orchard
    by David Hopen
    The protagonist of David Hopen's first novel, The Orchard, is 17-year-old Aryeh Eden, a Brooklyn boy...
  • Book Jacket: What Are You Going Through
    What Are You Going Through
    by Sigrid Nunez
    Shortly into What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez, it becomes clear that the narrator is ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Blind Light
    by Stuart Evers

    A multigenerational story about two families bound together by the tides of history.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.