I got this when it was free on Kindle back in September (it is now £1.96) but hadn’t got around to reading it. However, there seemed to be a few people in a group I belong to singing its praises, so I thought I’d finally give it a go!
Shortly after arriving at work one day, Charley dies whilst sitting at her desk. She then finds herself in a mysterious and wonderful world called Avalon by its inhabitants.
One of those inhabitants is sent to guide her, and she finds that she is actually her daughter. This confuses Charley as her 20 year old daughter is not actually dead, although she is brain-dead, and has been since her heart stopped 17 years earlier. Far from the lifeless husk that she knows as her daughter, this young woman is bright and beautiful and full of love for her.
As she travels through Avalon, encountering more wonders and strange creatures, Charley wonders whether she has really died, or whether she has lost her mind.
I really didn’t like this and I feel extremely guilty that I didn’t like this, as I suspect that this is a real personal story and that the author has probably used writing this book as something cathartic.
It put me on edge at first as when Charley first dies, it all feels very obviously ‘Heaven’ and all the religious contexts that go with it. It all felt very nicey, nicey, floaty, dreamy, serene and, well, heavenly. Far far too twee for me.
But there came a point just over halfway through where it suddenly seemed to turn into a kid’s adventure story, chopping through the forest on a quest meeting lots of magical creatures.
I couldn’t work it out at all. I guess Charley was meant to be on some kind of journey – a voyage of discovery about herself, and coming to terms to the truly awful thing that had happened to her daughter.
I guess that it’s all about acceptance and over-coming fear and guilt, but it felt far too clunky to me. The two halves of the story were very formulaic – the ‘death experience’ dreamy bit followed by the quest bit. And the two sitting within the same story just jarred a bit.
I can imagine that if the author sat down and TOLD me the story, there would be passion and tears and something real about it, but I’m sorry to say, none of that came across in my reading of it. It left me feeling a little annoyed and rather bored.