In The Rest of Her Life, Moriarty follows the family in the turmoil after the accident She deftly captures the initial horror and the sadness, but also explores the wash of feelings that comes afterward the frustration of never being able to apologize enough, the fear of leaving your house because the whole town is talking about you, and the confusion over what to do next We feel for these people and know they are hurting just as much as the girl s mother, though in a different way.
But just as interesting as the story about the aftermath of the accident is the story of Leigh s childhood, woven throughout Abandoned by her mother at 16 and relegated to sharing a trailer with her not much older sister and her boyfriend, Leigh did not know a stable home until married life She turned her life around and vowed that her own children s life would not be like hers the friction that occurs between her and her daughter is mainly due to their radically different upbringings.
Even though everything ends up as well as it could, it s not all OK Kara is changed, forever, but it s a tribute to the strength of her parents that she chooses to pay her penance in a helpful and constructive way The ending fits perfectly with who the characters are, unforced and completely real.
I thought the way the daughter s reactions to the accident evolved was thoughtful and real, but that was only a tiny part of the story Despite what the book cover and premise in the blurb say, the story is actually about the mother the main event just served as a catalyst for her to realize things about herself and her relationships with her family and friends At first I didn t like her at all because of her petty feelings in momentous circumstances, but as her past unfolded, I started to understand and so did she She didn t just have an epiphany and suddenly change the way she had been her whole adult life, though the author showed small things she tried to do and how unnatural they felt, which I also thought was realistic So the ending turned out satisfying but not all tied up in a bow.
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 AnotherLeigh 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 OutcryLike 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 From practically the opening page, this story was intense, emotional and gripping The Rest of Her Life shows us how, from one minute to the next, one error in judgment a teeny, tiny moment of inattention can profoundly alter so many lives forever I found both the plot and characters to be intelligent, moving and utterly convincing.
Distracted by a stray dog, eighteen year old Kara Churchill accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian in a crosswalk while driving her parents Suburban SUV The victim, Bethany Cleese, is a fellow neighborhood teen being raised by a single mom One beloved young life is irretrievably lost, but many, many others are deeply affected Although Kara s punishment will likely be light a reckless driving charge , Kara is hell bent on punishing herself to the max She withdraws, stops eating, and sinks into a deep depression while her father tries to do damage control Gary Churchill orders the family not to talk to anyone not even their closest friends, mother daughter duo Eva the town gossip and Kara s best friend, Willow Gary s all about lawyers, insurance, and making sure Kara avoids jail and starts college in the fall on schedule as if nothing happened Kara s mom, Leigh from whose point of view this story is told processes the tragedy quite differently She becomes obsessed with Bethany s mother, Diane, and grows increasingly desperate to finagle Diane s forgiveness even as the dents in her own relationship with Kara become all the evident under the weight of her family s sudden misfortune To Leigh, Kara s carelessness offers proof to the entire small town of Danby, Kansas that she has failed as a mother She is reminded of something Jackie Kennedy once said If you bungle raising your children, I don t think whatever else you do matters very much Damning herself, Leigh concludes that despite her best intentions, apparently, she d somehow bungled raising her daughter Now that Kara had bungled too, it was true nothing else seemed to matter Although on the surface, The Rest of Her Life is about a fatal accident, Leigh s realization about her maternal inadequacy is what gives this story its beating heart As the narrative progresses, we slowly learn why Leigh has had such a difficult time with motherhood She was abandoned by her own mother as a 16 year old, left to live in a trailer with her hapless if kind hearted older sister herself a young single mom , and basically had to grope her way through life in order to become a teacher and form a stable family as an adult The Rest of Her Life reveals just how difficult it is to parent a child when one has had defective or no parenting herself Understanding intellectually that her mom did the best she could given how she was raised did little to heal Leigh s festering emotional wounds Even though Leigh could dance circles around her own self absorbed, clueless mother, she has difficulty connecting with others including her own family, and slowly comes to realize that, despite her best efforts to be a different sort of parent than her mom, her own daughter simply doesn t like her At this crucial time when she most wants to comfort and connect with Kara, she is blocked at every turn Stomach clenching scenes are abundant throughout this novel, but the clumsy mother daughter standoffs are perhaps the most heartbreaking in their authenticity they certainly struck a nerve with me A well rounded cast of nuanced secondary characters including younger son Justin sister Pam Eva and her daughter, Willow Cynthia Tork the book censoring mom of one of Leigh s students and especially Bethany s mom, Diane pepper this already compelling tale with thorny complexity as Leigh grapples with her day to day connections and commitments After all, no matter the pain we might be suffering inside, life marches on all around us Though I am perhaps in the minority in finding Laura Moriarty s novel to be the rare gem that left me emotionally spellbound, in this reader s humble opinion, The Rest of Her Life is a truly extraordinary book deserving of five stars I would give it six if I could.
I really loved this book I didn t find it at all jodi piccolt ish Though I can see why people have linked the two It didn t feel overtly sappy as JP books can This was a really interesting point of view, and I found it refreshingly different The jacket is a bit misleading though as it does state that it is a book about a young woman and the aftermath of her accidentally killing a teenager The story is much better than that The accident is a catalist for a change in the mother daughter relationship It was told from the mother of the driver of the car that killed a teenager, not the driver of the car I felt that was really interesting, and enjoied it I liked the mother and her background As a mother I am constantly second guessing myself and trying to make sure that my daughter has a better childhood than I did, and that is a main focus of the strife between the mother and daughter in the book I found it very relatable and would highly recomend this book I gave it 4 out of 5 because I too felt very misled about the premise of the book, but ended up enjoing it much than I think I would have.
I love that this author doesn t feel the need to spoon feed her readers every detail She gives her audience some credit and lets us put things together ourselves This book was just perfect The characters were so believable and the story progressed at just the right speed My favorite character was Eva Everyone needs a friend like her I would definitely recommend this book.
This book starts with a tragic accident that affects Kara and her family I think I expected the story would focus on Kara and how this event affected Instead the story is about her mother Leigh and her inability to reach out and communicate with her daughter Over the course of the novel we get flashbacks to Leigh s childhood and the relationship or lack thereof with her mother, which helps us understand Leigh One quote that struck me in the novel was attributed to Jackie Kennedy If you bungle raising your children, I don t think whatever else you do matters very much Leigh s main aim in life is to be a good mother unlike her own mother was and yet Leigh fails to relate to her daughter, even before the accident While it is easy to empathise with Leigh given her upbringing, I still found it hard to warm to her But then, that perhaps is indicative of her life and her inability to relate to others It s an interesting read but I think the cover and the blurb do it a disservice since in the end the story is Leigh s story than Kara s But it certainly raises some issues about responsibility, parenting and relationships.
The plot in Laura Moriarty books has much to be desired Very little actually happens I consider her books to be of a character study The main character s thoughts are so intriguing to me that I m caught up in what she s going to think next Even though I can never identify with any of her characters, I feel like I know them As with her other books, I could not put this one down It is interesting how people either love or hate this author.
The rating is a personal one I suppose the book is a fine book, and at least moderately well written It s not really the book s fault that I hated the premise everything that happens after the protagonist s teenage daughter accidentally runs over and kills another teenager , disliked the protagonist whiny , and was pretty much uninterested in the back story In fact, the main real critique I have of this novel that is, a critique not based on personal taste and bias is that it doesn t have enough story to really make it a novel It felt like a short story that had been forced into being a novel, with back story grafted in to make it long enough As a short story, I may even have liked it.
I am tired of books that say one thing and deliver another This was supposed to be the story of a mother dealing with an accident her daughter had in which she killed another teenager Instead it was a flashback rich tale of Mom s woes thorugh life and the accident took a backseat, so much so that the truth about what happened that day was NEVER given Waste of time