Book Review #16: Eternal Life by Dara Horn
Eternal Life - Dara Horn
Finished on April 7, took 13 days to read
2 stars on Goodreads
Rating 2/2 Fiction
Well, this was not a good book. Finishing this book convinced me that in addition to keep a list of books I want to read on Goodreads, I need to keep notes on who or what media outlet recommended books to me. That way I can actively avoid recommendations from those sources in the future if I end up disliking a book. So thanks, Eternal Life, for convincing me to get a better recommendation system in place.
A quick summary is in order. Rachel is an old woman with a huge family, and a huge secret: she can't die. She lives a full life, marries, has tons of children, and then vanishes when her lack of aging becomes too noticeable. And then she starts the whole process again. This all started 2,000 years ago when Rachel was a teenager in Jerusalem. We meet a man who seems to know Rachel extraordinarily well, through many of her lives. I won't ruin how they know each other or why they can live forever, in case you actually decide to read the book (but don't).
This book had a great premise, which is why I picked it up in the first place. I remember reading a similar book called Forever by Pete Hamill, where a character lives forever and we see him interact with the changing world around him. But um, Eternal Life dropped it on the character development and plot department. Rachel is completely unlikeable. She has a sour attitude towards everyone, but I guess that will happen when you live for twenty centuries. Her entire sense of self is being a mother. And yes, she has given birth to hundreds of children, but it is impossible to get to know her as a person. She never does anything, to our knowledge, in two thousand years aside from giving birth and sort of living through her children. We also spend too much time on Rachel's interactions with the long term gentleman caller, and it's kind of a "will they, won't they" plot. But it is pretty awful and not interesting.
I will actively tell people to avoid reading this book. If I read another book about living forever, I would like for the protagonist to do something besides regretting every choice she ever made. If it is a curse to live forever, then do something with the curse!