Monday, 20 December 2010
MG Monday: Review: My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray
Title: My So-Called Afterlife
Author: Tamsyn Murray
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Publication Date: 1 Feb 2010
Synopsis: From Amazon
"I knew it was time to move on when a tramp peed on my Uggs..." Meet Lucy Shaw. She's not your average fifteen year old - for a start, she's dead. And as if being a ghost wasn't bad enough, she's also trapped haunting the men's toilets on Carnaby Street. So when a lighting engineer called Jeremy walks in and she realises he can see and hear her, she isn't about to let him walk out of her afterlife. Not least until he's updated her on what's happening in her beloved soaps. With Jeremy's help, Lucy escapes the toilet and is soon meeting up with other ghosts, including the perpetually enraged Hep and the snogtastic Ryan. But when Jeremy suggests Lucy track down the man who murdered her, things go down hill. Can Lucy face up to the events of that terrible night? And what will it cost her if she does?
How can I explain that a story about a murdered girl whose spirit is trapped in a Men's toilet is captivating, heart-warming and hysterically funny. Would you believe me?
Written in first person narrative from Lucy's perspective, murdered on New Years Eve doomed to spend eternity haunting the place she was murdered which unfortunately happens to be the male toilets. Lucy has a wonderful snarky voice that I can relate to. Remember I told you sarcasm is my thing. Yet underneath it all you can feel her vulnerability and for want of a better expression 'heart of gold'.
The introduction of Jeremy as the only person who can 'see' Lucy provided a wonderful contrast of personality between the two of them. Lucy a fashion conscious teenager compared to Jeremy a dowdy geography teacher, conjured fabulous pictures in my imagination. Jeremy's initial shock is replaced by his overwhelming kindness and urge to help Lucy move on. The inclusion of the spiritualist church was well thought out and easy to picture; especially the crowd of ghosts trying to get messages to their loved ones.
The typical teenage behaviour woven into the narrative gave the ghosts a true sense of realism including them having their own ghostly phone network. Teenage cliques were encompassed, the mean girl, the goth, the hot boy. Ryan's inclusion as the romantic interest for Lucy rounded the story off beautifully. He helps other spirits cross over partly due to his guilt over his own death, helping rectify any issues left over from their lives before they can achieve resolution. Lucy and Ryan balance each other perfectly.
Although the writing style is fun and humorous it doesn't distract from the emotions evoked at times, especially concerning the loss of a loved one. The portrayal of a parents anguish over losing a child really hit home to me, making me sob. I couldn't imagine losing one of my children, it is unthinkable. The details of Lucy's death were dark/scary/and far too easy to picture.
The depiction of both Hep's and a parents despair showed how easy it is to be overwhelmed with negative feelings; sucked into a void of darkness and despair if you will. This representation conveyed the need for a system of support/help, at one time or another I am sure that we have all needed that extra bit of support/help and we really shouldn't be afraid to show it or ask for it.
I am not going to give away any details but I have to say I totally adored the lovely resolution to the whole plot, a complete roundness to it.
So now do you believe me that a story about a murdered girl whose spirit is trapped in a men's toilets is captivating, heart-warming and funny??