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The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson…
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The First Time Lauren Pailing Died

by Alyson Rudd

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Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties, and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies. Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her - while Lauren enters a brand new life, too. But in each of Lauren's lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him. And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found.… (more)

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Wow. Just wow. I read this in a day, and not just because I borrowed my copy from the library! I'm still thinking about the characters now. One of the blurb reviews, I think, compares this to the film Sliding Doors, but the plot is much trickier than that.

When she is thirteen years old, Lauren Pailing dies for the first time, but then wakes up in hospital. Everyone and everything in her world is slightly different and she will have trouble with her knee for the rest of her life, yet that seems a small price to pay. Lauren grows up, goes to university in London, meets the man she will marry, moves in with him and finds out they are going to have a baby. All very normal. Except that this is just one of Lauren Pailing's lives. Somewhere out there in the universe is a world where Lauren did die and her mother was destroyed by grief; where she died but a second baby for her parents saved their lives; where her father's boss either goes missing or is a good friend of the family. And then Lauren wakes up in another life, with another family - only this time she has memories of the first, and second, time she died.

Apart from the cracking plot, which kept me reading until midnight, I loved the characters too. Lauren, all three of them, her father Bob, mother Vera, are beautifully drawn, in every universe. I found Bob's 'new' life hardest to read about, especially against the other 'what could have been' versions, but the slight changes in character were fascinating to follow. I have to admit, I had to mentally 'catch up' at the beginning of each chapter, however!

My only gripe - here she goes - are the throwaway references to worlds where home pregnancy test kits don't exist - or nobody knows what a cat is! Sure, maybe Lauren's childhood home might not have been built in a different version of her life, but come on, why these random exceptions? And I thought the attempt to explain what was going on via the physicist unnecessary too. I was perfectly content using my imagination to explain the wonderful imagery of the rips in time, or the 'sunbeams' that appear to Lauren.

Overall, though, a thrilling concept - a sort of positive version of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - cleverly told by Alyson Rudd. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Sep 19, 2019 |
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The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is a beautifully-written novel that opens your eyes about life and its meaning. A very powerful novel with interesting story. I have read books that have a few similarities to this one, but I haven't read anything like this before.

The main character in this book is without a doubt, Lauren. In the first chapters, we learn more about her and her parents. Lauren is an intriguing child, able to stare in the distance for a long time and able to see a different mummy that doesn't exist. When Lauren dies as a teen, the story splits into a few parts and we have parallel universes and different story lines happening.

In one of them, Lauren hasn't died at all. She wakes up and continues life as normal. In another, her parents have a little daughter and are coping with Lauren's death while raising the little girl. The third would represents Lauren's mum who can't cope with the pain and commits suicide, leaving Lauren's dad on his own. With all of the story lines, one thing stays the same - a mysterious disappearance of Lauren's dad's boss - Peter.

In every life Lauren lives - she feels like she needs to find out what happened to Peter. In all honesty, this mystery was supposed to be the centre of the story in the book, but to me it just didn't make sense at all. Once we got all the answers, all I could think of was that these two stories could have easily been made into two separate books.

While I had mixed feelings about the mystery of Peter, I definitely loved the parallel universe theme in the book. There were so many alternatives in Lauren's life. It puts into perspective how one choice in your life can make a difference in the long run. If you only change one decision, you could end up somewhere completely different.

I cannot recommend this book enough, if this is a genre that intrigues you. If you are planning to read it, I would suggest to avoid reading reviews and synopsis and go with a blank page of expectations. The less you know - the better your experience will be. Keep your mind open and enjoy. Happy Reading!

Thank you to the team from HQ for sending me a hardcover ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  InnahLovesYou | Sep 4, 2019 |
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