"Escape was a seductive visitor who whispered softly every time things got too dark to bear. So simple. So easy. Just leave."
The Other Life, written by Ellen Meister is the story of what could have been. It is also the story of learning to live in peace with the choices you have made and the life you have made for yourself.
The main character Quinn is living in one world, but she is beckoned by another through portals. Until now, she has been reasonably comfortable with her life. She is happily married with one son, Isaac. She lives in the suburbs. She has stability. The only thing that hurts her in this life is the loss of her mother, but she has managed thus far. But when she finds herself shocked by her turn of events, the other side starts to lure her in. In the other life, she has chosen to be with Eugene, a semi-celebrity. She lives in Manhattan and works both as an events coordinator for a bookstore and a manager for Eugene. In her other life, she has no children. But what matters the most to her in the other life is that her mother is still alive.
The Other Life is certainly unique. It examines those moments we have all had when we find ourselves questioning the decisions we have made and wondering if in fact we made the right ones. I appreciated the way Ellen Meister took on this idea. I think that Ellen Meister tackled a hard subject with an incredible amount of creativity and a real sense of who her characters were. It is not easy to piece together parallel universes, explain why in the the world someone would have the ability to go back and forth between them in the first place and develop characters with soul. The author manages. Quinn becomes someone we know and care for. She is not perfect. In fact, she is quite fallible. She makes mistakes and thinks of herself in times of strife. She is tempted by the idea of escaping and daydreams about freeing herself from the things that feel unmanageable. Likewise; I also found myself drawn to the old soul and often illusive character of Nan, Quinn's mother.
I would recommend this book for those that have found themselves wondering "what-if?" too often or analyzing what could have been. It will give you a new perspective on trusting yourself and your choices.