Popcultureboy’s #CBR5 Review #80: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

17873748

 

Insert jokes about “weighty tome” <here>. Shriver draws from the ever more pressing obesity crisis to create this beautifully written but ultimately slightly unedifying story of one man’s sudden huge weight gain and the effect it has on him and his family. The full review is on my blog here.

HelloKatieO’s #CBR5 Review #32: The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

Similar to Life After Life, The Post Birthday World also looks at alternate timelines of the protagonist’s life.  Irina McGovern takes family friend Ramsey Acton to dinner for his birthday one evening while her husband is traveling. And her choice that night sets off two alternate timelines.  In the first, she begins a torrid affair with alcoholic, reckless but passionate Ramsey.  In the second, she opts out of pursuing an affair and stays with her stable, long term partner Lawrence who shares her interests, challenges her intellectually and shares her home.

Much of what I enjoyed about this book is what I found so beautiful in Life After Life. I think everyone imagines what their life would look like if they’d made a different decision, chosen a different career,  married their first love, run off with the handsome man they met at a bar one night, never had children, etc. But when we fantasize about those things, we imagine a life infinitely better than our own. In our imaginations, when we make the other choice – the sun always shines, we never fight, we love our boss, our work is fulfilling and we never work weekends, our children with our hypothetical partner are well behaved and darling, etc. What daydreaming about the “what ifs” of life you never think about the hard times.

And there are hard times.