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The Half-Life of Everything


A beautifully written and uplifting debut novel.
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Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

Created: 02/06/19

Replies: 33

Posted Feb. 06, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2563

Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 459

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I liked parts of it but the scenes with physical intimacy gratuitous; the details did not add to this story.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
michelen

Join Date: 08/13/13

Posts: 12

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I think it raises interesting questions about an aging population, dementia and the meaning of “Til death we do part” in marriage vows. I too found some of the physical intimacy gratuitous.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyb

Join Date: 02/17/18

Posts: 17

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

At first I thought this book was going in a serious and important direction and then halfway through it switched on me. And I was left thinking of the quote from Alice in Wonderland:"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Although in this case it was only two impossible things. Sorry to say I could not take this seriously after it changed direction.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
wendyf

Join Date: 05/11/11

Posts: 36

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The premise is so plausible and moving. I did not find the intimacy gratuitous at all. I felt it was necessary to relate to the experiences the characters were having. There were times I was disappointed in the characters but we all have those flaws which make us who we are. We are often not sure how we will actually respond to a situation until we experience it.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
AntoinetteC

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 26

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I initially struggled with the speed and completeness of the recovery, which is clearly impossible with today's treatments, and seems unlikely even in the future. But I don't think the author was intending to write a story about Alzheimer's as such, but simply to explore relationships between couples and families by setting up a story line that puts the characters in a pressure cooker situation, and Alzheimer's was the vehicle for this.

Historically speaking, there are many cases of men being reported dead during war, who turned up later after their wives had moved on and remarried. So, I read The Half-Life of Everything in that context, but in a contemporary setting and with the woman "returning from the dead" not the man.

I wish in a way that the author could have found a different, more credible, vehicle for bringing Kate back--but it's difficult to think of one that would have allowed us to see the dynamics of David and Kate's relationship shift slowly over time as she became sicker. Simply having her disappear and reappear due to something like amnesia, coma or whatever wouldn't have allowed this (and would also have had credibility issues).


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 281

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I enjoyed reading the book but did feel the three way relationship was a bit unbelievable. Especially the two women becoming friends.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marie De

Join Date: 03/14/17

Posts: 15

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I agree that the story attempts to explore situations where a missing or presumed dead spouse returns only to find the other has moved on. It is understandable that one might have forged a relationship with another person. However, it seems to me entirely unlikely that all three people would be so noble, generous, and totally self-sacrificing. The characters are too perfect to be real.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 318

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I liked this book. It approached a difficult situation with real emotion from many different perspectives. I thought if was well written and caused me to think about what I would do if I were in that same situation.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeervin

Join Date: 01/28/18

Posts: 16

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I didn’t care for this book. The premise was too far-fetched to be believable. And, I have to say, if my date started talking about his wife’s orgasms, that would be my last date with him.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
michellem

Join Date: 03/12/14

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

Did not like this book. Everything was too convenient. I got tired of all the sex. Too contrite. I was hoping for more substance.
Miche5


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
teacher reader

Join Date: 02/14/18

Posts: 41

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I completely agree with the folks who thought that the detailed descriptions of sex were gratuitous. In fact, I wondered why the author thought they were necessary. This book would not be on a list of my favorites.


Posted Feb. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 76

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I was wondering about a book concerning early onset Alzheimer being depressing. I found this book interesting. It deals with what marriage means, what commitment means and explores the human need for intimacy.


Posted Feb. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
teachlz

Join Date: 07/28/16

Posts: 43

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I found myself getting very angry with the author over certain situations. My husband had to remind me this was FICTION. It is very hard to realize the cruelty and horror of this disease unless you have a family member living it.


Posted Feb. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccak

Join Date: 05/26/12

Posts: 65

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I enjoyed the first half of the novel, but the second part with the arrangement between the three people became too weird and unbelievable for me. The whole thing had a weird twist, but not in a good, thriller-y "Gone Girl" type of way. Some of the sex scenes felt more gratuitous than anything, and I wasn't expecting that in this novel. Overall I was disappointed.


Posted Feb. 19, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 185

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

The first part of the book was interesting in the setup to the novel but I felt it sort of fell apart as the book progressed. It's such a great "what if" story. I will be interested to read other stories by this new author as I think her writing is strong and thoughtful. I just didn't think this story was fleshed out enough to make it a strong market success.


Posted Feb. 19, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bridgetc

Join Date: 02/19/19

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I enjoyed the writing style of the author. The premise was interesting, but the outcome was a little too contrived to be believable. The story raised several interesting issues regarding how we deal with illness as a patient and as a family member caring for that person.


Posted Feb. 20, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kenanr

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 31

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I thought this was going to be an exploration of what marriage means when one person is spiritually and mentally gone but physically still present, and looked forward to that difficult, but relevant story. The plot twist and the resulting narrative were a huge disappointment for me. I felt like it cheapened the original premise and the characters were not allowed to become fully formed. This was not my favorite book.


Posted Feb. 20, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barb23703

Join Date: 10/04/15

Posts: 65

Reminiscent of "Eat, Pray, Love"

I found the book's characters and situation reminding me of the selfish shallowness of "Eat, Pray, Love." I feel the author missed an opportunity to tell an amazing story of how to rise from the nothingness of Dementia by concentrating on what should have been supporting characters and chasing the romance novel reader with the emphasis on the sexual relationships. No, I did not like the book or any of the characters. I found them very one-dimensional. I kept hoping for more - the authors skill with description and painting an image with words was good, but the subject matter, as others have said, was gratuitous and contrite. I am sure it will have a place in the romance novel section, but I will not be recommending it to anyone.


Posted Feb. 21, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
flute4u

Join Date: 08/14/13

Posts: 45

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I did not enjoy reading this story. The family dynamics were interesting and when David started to pursue Jane I was sympathetic, but when Kate was resurrected The story line lost it’s credibility. Then we were plunged into gratuitous sex and housekeeping. I found the renewal of relationships within the three generations interesting, but flat. The book could have been written with more fluid language.


Posted Feb. 21, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Missys

Join Date: 10/24/17

Posts: 29

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I feel like the novel should have been about double its length. The characters and the plot need more development. I too feel Kate's miracle medicine is introduced in an abrupt and jarring manner (wham, one day she's better. I found myself struggling to focus on happens afterward. The sons, Dylan and Jack, are the only characters I feel I can trust. They have real responses and Gang's portrayal of their lives feels developed and believable. Aside from the whole three-party relationship, Kate's affair with another man proves another plot twist that is too forced.
I think I could buy into Gang's plot if she gave the storyline more time. Her language before the miracle drug is fluid and heartfelt. The reader feels the anguish the family (and neighbor) are suffering, but after Kate's cure, the plot goes into a sort of rushed overdrive and her language shows this change - almost like Gang has a page quota she can't exceed.


Posted Feb. 21, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gwenc

Join Date: 07/14/12

Posts: 57

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I was disappointed. I was expecting more of a "Still Alice" examination of Kate's condition. Like others the sex scenes and rapid turn about turned me off. I read this book soon after receiving it. To jump into this discussion I had to review it, which tells me it had little "staying power" with me. I do think the theme, the inner workings of a marriage when one of the partners is dealing with Alzheimer's, is a rich gold mine to be explored .


Posted Feb. 22, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Amymp

Join Date: 11/30/16

Posts: 11

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in his late 40's. As his widow, I thought I would have much to contribute to this discussion. Unfortunately I couldn't identify at all. I was intrigued by the premise of the book, but it was rather unbelievable, so it read as science fiction to me.
Certainly a great medical visionary tale. Still looking for that first Alzheimer's survivor!


Posted Feb. 22, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 272

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I found this to be a quick read and was surprised by the turn it took. From reading above answers I think this may not be an impossible situation.


Posted Feb. 23, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lucyb

Join Date: 03/09/12

Posts: 29

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

It was a book that made me look at situations a bit differently. I believe a person in a difficult situation has to make up their own mind on what they deem is acceptable behavior. It would have been nice if Kate had gotten the treatment before David decided his choice.


Posted Feb. 24, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BethD34

Join Date: 07/28/13

Posts: 12

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

This book was very different than I expected. I think because I had preconceived notions about where this story would go, I felt Part I was rushed, I didn’t like David or Jane very much, and I was frustrated by the book. However, once I got into the story more and realized it wasn’t the book I was expecting, I enjoyed it much more on its own merits and I ended up liking it quite a lot.


Posted Feb. 24, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 113

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

It was an easy read, with an intriguing idea. I disagree with some of the other comments regarding the sexual portions of the relationships. Because they were relatively young, this is still an important part of their lives, one that they were not willing to relinquish.


Posted Feb. 25, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sandiev

Join Date: 02/25/19

Posts: 9

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I felt this was a very interesting topic as I know someone personally going through a situation with early dementia. However, their solution to the problem seemed a bit unrealistic to me.


Posted Feb. 25, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marks

Join Date: 02/25/19

Posts: 39

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I actually enjoyed the entire book. As one of the previous replies mentioned, it is important to remember that it is fiction. While the speed of the recovery is currently unrealistic, it was a good way to explore the premise of what happens to people like the characters in this book. As for the sex, I didn't see it as gratuitous. I would imagine that the intimacy for any of the characters involved in this situation was both important and challenging at the same time. To ignore it completely would have been a copout, and to downplay it by just saying "sex" would not have allowed the author to explore that part of each character's development. I do agree that parts of the story felt a bit rushed; there were aspects of each character that I would have liked to read more about.


Posted Feb. 25, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marthas

Join Date: 03/02/17

Posts: 17

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I found this book difficult to like at the beginning of the book. I guess I never really warmed up to it. I found the characters shallow, except for Jane. She had more depth to her story and actions. The sex was gratuitous as noted in many of the comments. The story line was hard to believe.


Posted Feb. 27, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Harley's Mom

Join Date: 02/21/19

Posts: 27

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I think the author writes well and I enjoyed the first part of the book. However, when I realized the characters were going through with Kate's suggested plan, it lost something for me. No matter how well their sons react, I think there will be problems down the line--holidays, birthdays, etc. It's an arrangement that says to their children that infidelity is acceptable as is open marriage. I don't agree.


Posted Feb. 28, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LeahLovesBooks

Join Date: 04/08/14

Posts: 69

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I love the concept of cure -- It appeals to the optimist in me.

The chapters about Kate's dementia and her family and circle of friends were real. The author either has firsthand knowledge or she researched well.

I struggled with Kate's miraculous cure. Still do. Not enought atention was given to the medical establishment and how she's followed. What about the advances in the world that transpired while Kate was not part of the world? How confusing and overwhelming it must have been for her. Not enough attention was given to this.

And how others seemed not to struggle with her awakening. I think the author coiuld have developed more not only Kate's awakening and how confusing for her, but also, how people moved on with their lives and possibly "resented" her re-entry into this world.

Thoughts?


Posted Mar. 02, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janee

Join Date: 01/15/18

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

This was not my favorite book. I selected this book for the description given mistakenly thinking it would be a believable story. I felt I could be about their age with grown children and could possibly get some insight into what ifs.....After the abrupt and unbelievable recovery I then began to read the story as truly fiction. It was well written ,but seemed to be missing something that I can’t quite identify.


Posted Mar. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
julief

Join Date: 02/08/17

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what do you think of this book? No spoilers in this thread please

I enjoyed reading the book, but it was clearly a work of fiction. I just cannot imagine 3 people choosing to live this way. The beginning was very real and then....not so much. The book raises important issues that will become more central in our society as baby boomers age. It may prompt you to have an interesting discussion with your partner!


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