Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review: The After Life by Daniel Ehrenhaft

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Penguin (Razorbill)
Spoilers?: No/Minor

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Nineteen-year-old Will Shepherd has never met his father, even though they live on opposite ends of Manhattan. Suddenly, within twenty-four hours, Will meets his father and his two halfsiblings, Kyle and Liz, and then his father dies out of the blue.
A clause in the will requires Will to drive back to New York from the funeral in Florida with self-absorbed Kyle and gorgeous, vulnerable Liz, leading to a road trip filled with tensions, escalating risks, and deep revelations.
In the tradition of Brett Easton Ellis and Hunter S. Thompson, Daniel Ehrenhaft crafts a novel of excess, a coming-of-age story with grit and edge that ultimately offers redemption to three characters in desperate need.

This book... This book was just, so... I was hoping for something different from this book, and what I got was not what I wanted or hoped for, in a bad way.
It's about three people: Will, Liz, and Kyle Shepherd, who are separated siblings, and who meet just before their father dies, and then go on a small road trip home from the funeral, somewhat at the request from their fathers will.
I did not like Will very much. He's nineteen, and yet is a bit of a drunk; is a drunk, which I did not like. And he was rather crude in the way that he spoke. He's just not someone that I would hang out with, given the choice. I didn't really like Kyle, either. He was too selfish, conceited, thinking that he deserved some respect and to be 'the Man' even though he really didn't deserve it. Liz, either, for that matter. I didn't mind her at first, and I probably liked her most, but I still wasn't a big fan. I don't think I would hang out with any of them, actually, given the choice.
There was a bit of the book where Liz and Will feel attracted to each other, and try to ignore it because they are siblings, which also bothered me. They're only half-related, and I've read some other things like this that didn't bother me as much, but I just didn't like it in this book. Plus, at the end, where there's given an excuse to this problem, just seemed a little too much like a cop-out. I guess it should make it better, and in a way it does, but it still bothered me.
I was hoping for better characters; characters that I would get along with and feel more connected to. But instead I just found that I didn't really connect with any of them. A big part of that might be the alcohol and drugs thing. I just don't really like alcohol or drugs. It's not that I overall disapprove of it and think that people shouldn't do them and don't want to believe that people do them. I just don't like how people try to use them to hide from other things, or are generally dumb when they decide to do them. And Will was always drinking to make himself feel better, despite the fact that he would have a terrible hangover when he woke up, and I don't see the appeal in that. And there was some other drug use within the book, which didn't make any of it better.
I just don't like it, okay? And I wasn't expecting it, and hope that it hadn't been in there. I think I wanted this book to be different, and was expecting it to be different, and was a bit disappointed when I found out that it wasn't what I thought it would be. The ending brought the rating up just a little bit, but it didn't help too much.
Anyway, despite not really enjoying this book, I have read some other books by Ehrenhaft that I did enjoy, and so am still planning on reading another of his books, and hope that I enjoy it more than this one.

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