I chose this book when it came out as a “Book of the Month” option. The concept intrigued me. I was a huge fan of the author’s debut novel, One Day in December, so I bought it and expected good things.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver follows, as one might expect, Lydia Bird. Bird, at the start of the story, has just lost her fiancé in a car accident as he was on his way to pick her up to celebrate her birthday.
The book follows her as she attempts to make sense of life without the man she loves. She loses the ability to sleep, particularly in the bed she once shared with her fiancé. Medical intervention to the rescue! She is prescribed a sleeping pill that has just been released to the market. She soon discovers that when she takes one of these pills and drifts off to sleep, she awakes in an alternate universe. In this world, her fiancé is still alive. They’re still living together, still planning a wedding together, still madly in love. Tragedy has never touched their lives.
As time goes on, Lydia learns how to juggle her alternate realities: grieving the love of her life in one world, while waking up to him alive and well in another world.
We see how this glimpse into the alternate world delays her grieving process to some extent. But we also watch as she learns to navigate life without her love by her side. She slowly grows into another person and opens herself up to new possibilities she never would have dreamed of before she was thrown into grief.
I still think the concept an intriguing and interesting one. However, I found myself somewhat disappointed by the execution of it. It was a little difficult to follow two different realities with all of the same characters and so much repetition between the two. I also felt like the ending of the novel was a bit rushed, and lacked the plot & character development required to have reached the conclusion it did.
That said, it was a very quick read. The chapters are short, and the characters are easy to sympathize with. Others may have a more enjoyable time with this book than I did.