There are a few books that really changed my life - and one of the first ones that I ever remember falling into this category was definitely The Time Traveller's wife, and so when I read the blurb of The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August by Claire North and that was the first book that it made me think of, I knew that I was going to be desperate to read it as long as it was sitting on my shelf but because I have a really strict system, it's taken a few months to get round to it. Without further ado though, let's talk about Harry August.
This book is about Harry August, a man who dies only to be reborn to live his life over again with the memories of all the times that he's lived it before. His lives all follow similar paths, starting and ending in very similar ways - until the eleventh life, when a girl comes to Harry on his deathbed to ask for his help. Harry suddenly realises the power that he has in his hands, and suddenly he has to fight for his past, something he simply can't change, and he has to do something about the future that he's really not able to live with.
I find this a strange story to read - it's not unlike the Time Traveller's Wife in that it really jumps between parts of a life - however, instead of jumping between the same time line non-chronologically, this jumps between a number of chronological timelines; and so it's fairly important to keep each timeline in place in your head or you can get a little confused - but having said that, once I was into the swing of the story I didn't find this difficult at all, and each subtle difference between each timeline really makes you take in how little things can change the world in such a huge way.
I will say this isn't for the faint hearted - I found some parts of the book fairly triggering, and there's a lot of talk about asylums and mental illness being wrongly diagnosed, however; on the whole I found myself engrossed in the story and unable to tell just how it was going to end. I found Harry to be a likeable character, I found the whole thing to be a surprisingly easy read considering the subject matter and truly, overall, I just found myself wanting to read more, enjoying each little strand of the story.
This isn't the kind of thriller that's going to keep you on the edge of your seat, but it's thought provoking and beautifully written and I just really enjoyed reading it. If you haven't been away on holiday yet, this is definitely a holiday type book to pack and truthfully, I'm looking forward to exploring what other offerings that Claire North has because I fell in love with Harry August, and it might not have changed my life, but I've not enjoyed a book so much in a long time.