What do you do when your life collapses around you and the future you had planned on is gone? How do you move beyond the pain, who do you lean on for support and comfort? And what if there was an alternative – would you grab it, no matter the cost? These questions and more and explored in the compelling book The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver.
Lydia and Freddie have been a couple since they met when they were 14. Their lives, past and present, are intertwined and their future planned with bright promise. All of that comes to an abrupt end when, on Lydia’s birthday, just a few months before they were to be married, Freddie dies in a car accident.
Torn apart by her grief and her pain and unable to sleep at night, Lydia starts taking sleeping pills prescribed by her doctor. Every time she uses one of the pills, she magically slips into an alternate universe where Freddie is still alive, their future is proceeding as planned and Lydia is blissfully happy again. Waking up returns her to the world where Freddie has died and her crippling grief so the pills quickly become a crutch, allowing her to visit a world that doesn’t exist.
Pretty soon it becomes evident that not everything is perfect in this alternate universe, and it becomes increasingly difficult for Lydia to sustain both narratives. But how can she choose between the love of her life and moving on without Freddie?
This is an intriguing look at the process of working through grief and how grieving doesn’t follow a straight path or can be predicted by a timeline. It’s also about learning to stand on your own, how to move on while still honoring what has been lost, about the love and support of family and friends and about how you are responsible for your own happiness.
This may sound like a real downer of a book, but it has lots of funny moments – it’s British so the humor is very dry and Lydia’s circle of friends aren’t afraid to both poke her and hold her up. While it’s about grief, it’s also about love and joy and living your best life on your own terms.