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Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
Author: Josie Silver
Star Rating: 5/5
I give this book a rating of 5 out of a possible 5 stars. From the first page, this book drew me in with the interesting premise. This is a great contemporary read exploring topics of grief, love, family, and the always elusive ‘happily ever after.’
What It’s About
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird begins with the title character having just found out that her fiancé has tragically died in a car accident. Lydia Bird has known her fiancé her entire life and expected to spend the rest of her life with him. After her fiance’s untimely death, she grieves over her loss as well as the future she expected to have. She is not the only one grieving however. Her oldest friend, who was also her fiance’s best friend, is also grieving. Their relationship is strained, as it is just too painful for them to be together as it is a reminder of what they had lost. Her family also tries to get her involved in things, afraid that she is going to start going downhill, overwhelmed by the all-consuming power of grief.
As a way to help her with her loss, Lydia gets to escape this world by visiting another. In this alternate world, her fiancé is still alive. Over the course of two years, from 2018 to the beginning of 2020, she visits this other world to see what life would have been like had her fiancé not died. At first, everything is just perfect and she is simply overjoyed at getting to see him again. But soon, she realizes that life in this alternate world is not picture perfect, when the people that she cares about start to suffer. She also becomes more grounded in her reality as she realizes that there is a someone new that wants her to stay.
Why You Should Read
Although fiction, this book explores the themes of grief and most importantly recovery from grief. It explores what different people can do to help overcome grief. For example, we see the title character, Lydia, attempt to overcome her grief by simply escaping to another world, one that seems better than her current reality. We also see another character deal with the loss of his best friend by turning to creative expression as a way to release the pent-up emotions. We also see how the characters often manage to not succumb too heavily to the sadness because they have a support network in place. We see these characters rely on each other, and through this reliance, they start to heal.
Healing often comes about from the timeless love that we show to people. This book explores how potential love can lead to happiness, but at the same time, it can have devastating results. We see that in the romantic and platonic relationships between the various characters. But we also see the hurt that can sometimes come from love after the death of Lydia’s fiancé or when her best friend moves away.
This book also explores the importance of self-love when we see two of the characters bravely travel or move to another place in order to find themselves. This book shows that in order to be truly happy, you must first take care of yourself, no matter the cost.
Overall, this was a great read, and one that I would definitely read again. What I most loved about this book is that contains characters who are simply trying their best in a world that is sometimes unfair. But through the love of family and friends, you can start to move past it. The past will always be a part of you, but new life can still be had. It may not be the same. It may not be what you expect. But you can still find happiness again.
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And you, my dear reader, what book are you currently reading?