RELEASED: March 5, 2020
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books UK
FORMAT: eBook [AD – Thanks to the publisher for the ARC through NetGalley!]
GENRE: Adult Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 4.06
TRIGGERS: Grief, loss of loved one, mention of off-page car crash, use of sleeping pills [no addiction], mention of miscarriage, graphic birth
Two Lives. Two Loves. One Impossible Choice.
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible.
But she’s wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a car accident.
So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob ’til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.
But then something inexplicable happens, which gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened. But what if there’s someone in in her new life who wants her to stay?
After reading Josie’s One Day in December – which I gave 4,5 cupcakes by the way! – I knew I had to keep an eye on her and her upcoming releases. As such, the decision was easily made when I got offered the chance to read and review her next book, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. I was expecting something amazing once again, so.. let’s find out whether it actually was!
The prologue drew me in immediately. Our main character, Lydia, mentioned how her life’s defining moment nonchalantly passed her by. I remember I simply stopped reading immediately, realizing that “yes, those small moments seem so trivial at first, but then become so much bigger afterwards”. I couldn’t wait to find out what her moment was, how this story was going to unfold. It wasn’t in the least what I expected!
Grief is an odd thing. It’s mine and no one can do it for me, but there’s been this whole supporting cast of silent actors around me in the wings.
Before I well and truly realized, I was dropped into a story filled with grief over the loss of a loved one. At first it really did feel like free-falling. I felt with Lydia and still feel like I processed it all alongside her. Not only those first chapters, but throughout the entire book. I had to stop reading at times since some things hit home and were hard to see put into words. Other times I got frustrated or confused. Emotional roller coaster? Check!
How, you might ask? Well, as the title of this book tells us, Lydia is living two lives. One her real and awake one, the other taking place as she sleeps. In her dream-life, her loved one is still alive so it makes sense why she keeps going back. That is, until things start to happen in both her lives – different things – that make her realize it isn’t the amazing thing she thought it was. We follow her on her journey through grief, acceptance, emotions and changing relationships in both lives.
Lydia herself is a character I quickly connected with. Due to her emotional state, her realizing how she’s feeling, how she’s dealing.. It resonated with me since you can know things should be different, but that doesn’t mean you have the energy to actually change them. I think, looking back, that’s the thing that had me connecting with her the most. So it isn’t really that big of a surprise how I cried, right? I think I teared up twice, but I know I full-on cried twice as well. The feels.
It’s cathartic sometimes, crying, and at other times it’s the loneliest thing in the world, knowing no one is coming to give me a consolation hug.
If there’s one thing I got frustrated about, it’s.. something that might definitely be remedied in the finished copy. It simply involves confusing Lydia’s two lives at times. This would be easily solved if there’d be some kind of difference in – for example – font or something. I’m hoping that’ll be the case in the finished copy anyway! It sometimes took me two paragraphs before I realized we had changed lives and.. yeah.. Bit unnecessary, haha.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird mostly tells the story of grief, of how to deal with it, but it also shows us how other people, other events in our lives can give up hope and strength to move on. If you want a read that’s sure to stay with you for a while, this is one you might feel tempted to pick up!
Grief is one of the harder subjects to read about, but one I do like reading about since it often gives a message of hope.
What are some books that gave you hope?