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The Things We Learn When We’re Dead ~ Book Review

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

Illustrated by: n/a

Series: n/a

Published: 2017, Accent Press

Edition: Paperback

Length: 478 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Magical Realism

Where Did I Get It? The author kindly sent me a copy in return for an honest review

Blurb: On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but 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.

Opening Line(s):


At the end of her Edinburgh street, where it joined a busier road, was a security camera perched high on a metal pole. If anyone had been watching they would have seen a slim young woman in a red dress illuminated under a streetlight.

My Review: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead was a really lovely read. It made me think, made me cry, made me laugh and has lingered with me for days after I put it down.

From the opening page where you’re met with the END, Charlie Laidlaw takes you on a journey beyond the limitations of life and death to the furthest reaches of space imaginable in order to explore what it truly is to be a ‘good’ person.

The story has flavours of The Wizard of Oz and The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, it has characters that are charming, funny and instantly recognisable. They’re all so… human. They make mistakes, but they try their best – it’s just a wonderful story of humanity with a cast of characters from every walk of life.

I loved how light the story made me feel – it was a really feel-good book even though many topics touched on were heavy. Charlie Laidlaw has a wonderful way with words that let you see the light through the darkness all the way through the story.

Oh, and the space craft HVN has an issue with hamsters in the wiring and it’s totally God’s fault. No, really.

My Rating: 4/5*

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