33898371The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The Lovely Bones in this surrealist, sci-fi comedy. 

When Lorna is run over, she wakes in a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.

It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident …

Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home.

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
R&R Book Tours ebook 320 Accent Press Contemporary Fiction / Humour January 26th, 2017

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*My thanks to Shannon of R&R Book Tours and the author for including me in the blog tour and for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review*


Fact is, I simply could not say no to the pull of this book. Read that blurb and tell me it doesn’t sound fantastic and positively quirky??? Hippy god and wine for dinner and Sean Connery-nurse? TTWLWWD just gave hospitals a new set of guidelines to add to their policies, hey!

I was all game and prepared to be presented with a plot based on choices and how each and every choice steers lives in new directions. We never really think of the long-term, overall implications of our choices until it’s too late, or sometimes we don’t even realize that our decisions to act in a certain way have caught up with us and manifest through a different life experience. I liked the manner with which Charlie approached this specific theme of having a character revisit their life and the choices they had made.

After being hit by a car, Lorna awakes in a strange hospital room and as she demands answers about where she is and why, the life she has lived will be unravelled page after page as fragments of her memory come back to her… As the timeline of choices and actions mixed with moments of bliss and sadness play out like a movie reel Lorna learns about herself, her true self, she sees people who have been in her life in a different light and has the chance to witness and analyze her whole life from a different perspective.

A different perspective- oh, how often did I wish I had that superpower at any present moment? *chuckles*

Lorna Love, the character, is the epitome of humanity. She is a full package of perfection and flaws, intelligence and ignorance, patience and impatience… She is everything that we all are. She has, and is, a lesson to be learned.

Death had always seemed the ultimate full stop and, if an afterlife existed, it would be a place beyond understanding; a spirit domain of ascended souls, where nothing would resemble  the mortal world. 

TTWLWWD is a quirky yet insightful novel with a touch of sci-fi. I would say, for me personally, the human condition element takes prevalence here. It is at times quite a lot to take in- there is a lot of backstory and history concerning Lorna’s life, complete with detailed descriptions, and even though they slightly took away from my pleasure of reading, I would still say everything in this novel is of value. It’s an exploration of a full circle of life. There is something for everyone in this book, I would like to think.

The story developed and captured me the closer to the end I got- as everything started to slot into place, I was intrigued to find out the how’s and why’s and what happens next. I enjoyed HVN’s celebrity clones, and how HVN kinda-sorta reflected the people in Lorna’s life- it was a bit eerie and cool. There is tons of heart and wit and unique ideas to drive the otherworldly to contrast the simple and relatable observations from life.

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead on Goodreads ¦ Amazon UK ¦ USA


About Author

Author PicI was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland (quite near Paisley, but thankfully not too close) and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian.

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