Afterlife by M. Destefano

AfterlifeThere are times when being honest totally sucks. When I first read the blurb for Merrie Destefano’s Afterlife, I was really intrigued. It sounds like it would be a great story and I really want to read it. However, that’s not happening.

Welcome to your next chance.

Chaz Dominguez is a professional Babysitter in New Orleans, helping to integrate the recently deceased into their new and improved lives. Though Fresh Start has always been the only game in town, resurrection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Nine lives are all a person can get—and a powerful group of desperate, high-level Nine-Timers will stop at nothing to possess the keys to true immortality.

Now the only hope for Chaz and his family—and the human race—lies in the secrets locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie he must protect . . .

I’m even hestitate to call this a review, because I totally have plans on going back and reading this, but I can’t do it right now. Have you ever had a book just hit too close to home on a really sensitive subject?  Afterlife is doing that to me.  It’s something I noticed when the monkey was born – certain topics I just can’t handle.  The sensitivity went away after awhile, but I just had Psy, so I’m back to finding certain topics being really iffy.  The first time around, I couldn’t watch or read anything that involved a child getting harmed in any fashion.  Even just being terrorized hit me wrong.  Not that it doesn’t bother me now, but at least I can understand that when I read about it or see it on the television, it’s fiction (which is why I still don’t watch the news).  As long as I know it’s fiction, I’m okay.

However, this time around, it’s the whole idea of mortality.  Seriously, when you have kids, it just seems like death is right around the corner.  And no I don’t believe my reading vampire novels adds to that.  It’s totally the kids.  Before them, old age seems so far off.  The distance between twenty and thirty was huge.  Now, after having two kids, the distance between thirty and death seem a lot closer.  I know I’m rambling, but stay with me.  Have you ever wondered what happens after death?  Not that instance when it occurs, but that time when you’re laying in the coffin at your funeral.  You’ve obviously been dead for a few days – what’s that like?  That’s my fear right now.  Am I still conscience?  Do I know what’s going on?  Will I remember?

That was the thing that made Afterlife a DNF for me right now.  The whole idea of remembering after death.  I can even tell you the passage.  It was page 14, halfway down the page:

She didn’t want to talk about the joint.  None of them ever did.  I felt bad immediately.  I should have let her bring it up first.  Tears formed in the corners of black mascara-rimmed eyes.  Maybe she was remembering a husband and a kid she left behind.

BAM!  Instant tears.  That idea that after death…no I don’t want to think about it.  The idea that I’ll be dead and know that I’ve left the hubby and my kids behind, not knowing what they are doing, how they are doing, anything, totally freaks me out.

So I hate to say it, while Afterlife may be a great novel, and I’ve been seeing some great reviews, I just can’t read it.  The whole premise of the story is that people get a second chance at life. Not just a second, but up to nine lives total.  Once you die, you get to go back and do it over again as someone else.  The premise still sounds fantastic and I am still intrigued to see how it is, I’m just going to have to wait. Honestly, the idea that the characters maintain some of their memories is a great idea.  I’ve always wondered if resurrection is what we have waiting for us.  If it is, I would love to maintain some of my memories – just not all of them.

But when you really think about it…and the reason I’m writing this and not just waiting until I can read the whole novel…isn’t that what everyone wants from a story?  An emotional reaction, not just to the characters, but to the story itself?  I may have had it early on, but it’s there. That gives the story a lot of potential to being fabulous and I can’t wait until I can read it.  I have mentioned that point of view switching bugs me a little – it makes it harder to really enjoy if you have to work to keep everything straight – but even that isn’t going to deter me from picking this up again.

So while this may not be a typical review, and will not be my final review, if you’re sensitive around this topic like I am (I can’t be the only one, right?), then you may want to hold off for a bit.

Also reviewed by: Casey on Literary Escapism, Darkeva, Michelle’s Ramblings, Rex Robot Reviews and Tez Says

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. The author was interviewed on another blog and asked whether you would choose to be resurrected or not. Quite a few people brought up their kids and said they wouldn’t want to be resurrected unless they knew their kids would be also. I don’t have kids so this whole issue goes right over my head. I won Afterlife from your blog and I’m totally looking forward to reading it. I don’t think it will hit any hot buttons for me.

  2. If you haven’t already, and believe you’re still sensitive, do NOT read Dakota Banks’s Dark Time. It’s really good so far, but I (having a just turned one year old daughter) almost couldn’t handle what happens in the first chapter.

  3. I love your honest review! I have Afterlife on my shelf right now and haven’t got to it yet. I also don’t have kids, but i still know what you mean. I will still likely read the book, and see how it goes.

  4. @Bethany – Are you referring to MORTAL PATH? Yeah, I have tried that one and it was a DNF for me as well. Although it wasn’t because of the first chapter. In fact, I can’t even remember what the first chapter was about.

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