“Bender explores the transcendence of reincarnation, where two people, botanist Riley Dawes and the enigmatic Catherine Wharton, find themselves connected through their past lives. Reminiscent of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, the different subplots, timelines, locations, and characters are a vibrant tapestry of humanity. Even though laced with tragedies and heartbreaks, these four different stories about two souls have their beautiful moments. Rigby provides a great ending to an intriguing and substantial read that challenges how we fundamentally perceive the beginning and the end of one’s life.” - Readers’ Favorite
One of the main issues taken up in the novel is the question of whether our past lives expose who we really are, at an essential level, and what this says about humanity. What impact do these lives and experiences have on our present and who are we really? It almost feels as if this is a series of short stories, that are interlaced together to tell a larger story, to paint a grander picture about who we are and what our lives mean if we live again and again. What role do we play and where does fate come into play?
There are big questions at work here and I do not think all of them are as explored as I would have liked, but the examination of fate and love, I felt, were well developed. This story asks question after question and does not serve us easy answers. It is open-ended and we are left to make up our own minds and come to terms with ourselves.
The idea of human souls living more than one life is a popular one, but the idea of a machine being able to show you your previous lives is, as far as I am aware a pretty unique one. I felt that Rigby explained the hypothetical science behind his machine in a thorough way and yet still made sense to people who aren’t scientifically minded.
Out of the four storylines, my favourite was the one set in Ancient Egypt, but the one set in futuristic Argentina definitely drove the novel as a whole as it was during these sections that the plot progressed and that had the most plot twists.
My main criticism is that the dialogue in the older storylines wasn’t distinguished from those in the more modern ones. For example, would they have said I’m rather than I am?
I would definitely be interested in reading more work by Alexander Rigby.
This is the second book from Alexander Rigby that I’ve read. The Second Chances of Priam Wood was suggested to me by a friend, and I enjoyed it very much. I found myself enthralled as I closed my eyes and envisioned myself as one of the characters who kept finding love with their soul mate through multiple generations and eras. The notion of love transcending death is very inspiring to me and provided me with inspiration to be a better person. I look forward to reading future titles by Alexander Rigby.
I was immediately intrigued by the premise – four love stories that cross through time and space.
“Bender” by Alexander Rigby is a historical fiction/science fiction hybrid novel about four star-crossed couples whose love is forbidden. During ancient Egyptian times, a pharaoh’s daughter falls for a slave. In Renaissance Italy where homosexuality is punishable by death, two men fall in love. In 1980s USA, two people meet who are already taken. Then, in an Argentina set 200 years from now, two women find themselves in an impossible situation.
Rigby is an elegant writer who fills his pages with rich imagery. This is a well-paced story that keeps you turning your pages to find out the fates of each of the four couples. Rigby’s concept is refreshingly original and thought-provoking. I found myself pondering the meaning of life, love and souls more than once throughout this book. The only thing I found a bit challenging about this book were that some of the stories, namely the ancient Egyptian and futuristic Argentinian stories, hooked me more than others.
A great book for anyone who is into romance, historical fiction or light science fiction.
What started as an odd idea—drawing together four completely separate storylines with the word “bender”—has developed into a beautifully thought-provoking story. With a construction similar to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Bender examines the lives and loves of four separate couples throughout human history who share a central secret: the souls of each couple are the same, though they’re reincarnated into different bodies and in different periods throughout history. Rigby’s writing continues to grow with each new novel; I’ve particularly enjoyed his last two, which explore the more theoretical aspects of science and humanity. As always, his novel handles big themes like loyalty, discovery, and emotion versus rationality. In these troubling times, novels like Bender, which treats all love stories with equal care, attention, and writerly spirit, will become increasingly important to us.
Bender is an incredible technological discovery founded in the year 2241. This mechanism is able to scrutinize the fabric of who we are, by identifying the marker of our souls. The novel explores four different time periods; the present (2241), the 1200s in Ancient Egypt, the 1500s in Florence, Italy, and the late 1900s in Pennsylvania, United States.
I found Bender to be a beautifully constructed novel, with two undeniably pure souls at its core. Catherine and Riley have shared three past lives together, all having been doomed to tragedy. I loved the differences between each character as we glimpse the lives of their souls at previous points.
The technological advancements and creations of Author Alexander Rigby were awe-inspiring. I could imagine our top scientists coming up with such ideas in the future. All ideas seemed plausible and rooted the futuristic world to the ground.
There is something elegant about the way Rigby writes. Whether down to the sentence structure or language used, or even the combination of the two, the words flow effortlessly on the page and grip you from start to finish. There is no shortage of symbolism and profound phrases with deeper undercurrents of meaning either. Rigby shows how we can defy the expectations of others and their needs for us to conform to society’s general ways of thinking and acting. Rebellion is a strong theme throughout the book, which sees us journey on an emotional roller-coaster of a ride.
I appreciated the profound sense of vulnerability between Catherine and Riley over the different lifespans. It is heartbreaking that two souls which seem perfect for each other should continue to be parted by circumstances that are outside their own level of control.
The ending had me so on edge that I could scarcely breathe. Rigby is a master at creating tension and has helped to confirm my already strong belief in the human soul being infinite. I would recommend this book to everyone and rate it a solid 5/5 stars.
I really enjoyed how the multiple storylines in this book intertwined, especially because they were all in such interesting settings. I found myself getting involved with the characters and who they are. The Pittsburgh story really drew me into the book, the author also did a great job of setting the scene in Florence and bringing in real places for the characters to visit. It’s nice how this book combines parts of historical fiction, science fiction, and romance.
In this exceptional novel, we follow a cast of complex characters as they navigate complicated love stories across time and space. While the four couples live in separate countries, in different centuries, it is rather clear from the beginning that each love story is linked. What this book succeeds at is connecting these stories together, into one narrative, as the couples fall in love, and break apart, in similar, yet dissimilar ways.
In Ancient Egypt, the rebellious Princess Rashida falls in love with a slave named Chathis, much to the frustration of her controlling father, the Pharaoh Ramesses II. During the end of the Renaissance in Florence, Italy, two men become enraptured with one another, even though their affection is dangerous, as homosexuality is considered highly immoral. Moving forward to the late 1980s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a somewhat arrogant young man named Reed meets a beautiful woman named Claire when he slams into the back of her car on the interstate, unable to hide his attraction for her, even though he already has a girlfriend. And finally, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the year 2241, Riley Dawes, a scientist, discovers a fascinating machine called Bender, which reveals she has lived multiple past lives, just as she is being introduced to an intriguing woman named Catherine, who has also apparently lived multiple times before.
By moving at a fast pace, and offering many twists along the way, the book constantly surprises and delights. The various instances that cause conflict between these couples are well thought out, and show the multiple kinds of ways couples can face adversity. The characters are strong, stubborn, and reckless, which results in multiple storylines that are very fun to read. I was rooting for the characters in some scenes, just to yell at them internally in the next. This is a great novel that I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys literary fiction, science fiction, or a good, complicated love story.
“In What Happened to Marilyn, Alexander Rigby weaves an intricate tale that brings Marilyn Monroe into the future to save her from an untimely death. The time travel is believable, and all the major questions and problems that could arise from such a risky move are answered and solved. You’ll enjoy reading this novel, as the author makes you care what happens to the characters.” - Writer’s Digest
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
What Happened to Marilyn is a futuristic adventure by Alexander Rigby. As the title suggests, it centers on a fantastic new imagining of the fate of Marilyn Monroe in which the glamour icon evades her death as we know it, travelling to the distant future through the efforts of Jeremiah Gold. A rich and morally questionable genius, Jeremiah has set his mind to righting a wrong from a hundred years ago, and bringing Marilyn to his side in the future where he thinks she belongs. While the new world is fascinating at first for the starlet, cracks begin to show in Marilyn’s façade, and the darkness and ennui that plagued her in 1962 seem to have made the hundred-year jump too.
One might be forgiven for thinking that What Happened to Marilyn is some sort of fantasy fulfillment novel, but it was so much more than that right from the off. Jeremiah’s emotional connection to Marilyn through the death of his mother makes her a very fitting companion for him in the future. I particularly enjoyed the way that Alexander Rigby crafts Marilyn into a wizened woman, who looks back on the experiences we all know lie in her past, and seeks new lessons from them to teach Jeremiah in his future life. Jeremiah learns valuable lessons about life and love at her side and, though the novel is far more of a romantic drama than a science fiction tale, I found it to be a light-hearted and highly enjoyable time travel adventure with a conclusion that really warms your heart.
I openly admit to not being a science fiction fan, but when a book about Marilyn Monroe came up for review I just had to read it, time travel or not. It was actually a really interesting story and made me wonder about time, events and what ifs.
With flying cars and time travel, it reminded me of Back to the Future but Jeremiah Gold is a lot smarter than Marty McFly. It is clear that Jeremiah is different, he’s a clever guy and is miles ahead of his compatriots in 2062. When his mother dies he vows to fulfill her wish of going back in time to save Marilyn Monroe from her premature death. Alexander Rigby has paid fantastic homage to Marilyn as she felt very true to life, not that I can confirm this having not met her of course. It begged the question as to whether you could really go back and change events in history. Could one small change have a cataclysmic effect?
Life in 2062, apart from the flying cars, seemed very similar to today; people have the same thoughts, feelings and insecurities. I don’t think I will be still alive in 2062 but I hope some of Alexander Rigby’s ideas come true. I loved the idea of going to a dance or disco and putting in earphones to listen to the music – I could completely visualize people swaying to a silent beat. I’m not so sure about cloning yourself to cure your ills though, but if that did come to pass then maybe I will still be around in 2062!
What Happened to Marilyn is certainly something a little bit different. Don’t be put off by not reading sci-fi, there are no space ships or aliens in here! It’s a must read for any Marilyn Monroe fan and for anyone looking to read something a bit out of the ordinary. I certainly enjoyed it.
Alexander Rigby’s novel “What Happened To Marilyn” is a very enjoyable time-travel love story set mostly in 2062 Savannah, Georgia. The protagonist genius Jeremiah Gold devises a time travel machine and uses it to steal the legendary Marilyn Monroe away from 1962 California just before her untimely death and returns with her to 2062. Marilyn is understandably shocked as Jeremiah explains that he has kidnapped her to save her life. She decides to trust Jeremiah when they realize that the historical accounts of Marilyn’s death have not changed. Jeremiah tries to conceal Marilyn’s identity from the public while he tries to unravel the mystery, but hiding someone with Marilyn’s natural charisma proves to be difficult. Especially since she is eager to begin the new life that this second chance offers. All Marilyn wants now is a quiet, anonymous life in peace. To just be herself instead of living with the dumb-blonde image Hollywood devised for her. It doesn’t take long for the complications to begin: love triangles, secrets, and Marilyn’s frustration with Jeremiah’s overwhelming fear that the public will discover her true identity. The supporting characters surrounding Jeremiah and Marilyn try to interfere, to the point where I thought they were more controlling than caring. But the mounting tension just urged me to keep reading as I wondered: will Marilyn finally take control of her own life? Can she? And what will happen to Jeremiah? Will he be a part of her life?
“What Happened To Marilyn” kept me guessing right to the end about what was coming next, and the conclusion was a satisfying one with no loose ends. The author’s deft handling of character allowed me to hear Marilyn’s Monroe’s voice, see her face, and picture her as we all know her. I liked the inclusion of some futuristic gadgets, and really liked that I was not bombarded with them throughout the book. They kept their place, and left the main focus were it should be; on the characters and story line. I suggest you read this book. It’s a fun ride to find out what happens.
What Happened to Marilyn is a story of Jeremiah Gold, boy genius saving Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe from her impending death and everything that happens after.
I was not familiar with this book at all, so I didn’t know what to expect when I read it. All I know is that this book deals a lot with time traveling.
What I liked most about this novel is how Alexander described the surroundings way into the future so thoroughly without actually living it. The way he wrote the back story of each character was so detailed and well thought out which really made me more curious as I read on.
I wasn’t expecting Jeremiah to have feelings for Marilyn, at all. I looked at them as sort of a brother-sister type thing where in Jeremiah teaches Marilyn on how to live in the future while living individual lives, falling in love with different people in the process. It was pretty obvious when Jeremiah was getting possessive of Marilyn, well done to Alexander for not making it too obvious.
It made sense that Marilyn wanted to explore the world not just for herself but for her love for Jeremiah as well. She wanted to be the same age as him when she came back and even if it hurt to leave him.
This book kept me on my toes with it’s futuristic feel and unique storyline. I loved it.
This book does an amazing job with time-travel logic. It wasn’t confusing at all.
Rigby renders Marilyn as a believable and fun character. She could’ve easily been botched in this representation, but instead I’m sure readers would find her magnetic. Jeremiah, however, is the main character. Despite his emotionless, genius-like qualities, he was very likable in the beginning of the story. You’re able to buy into his reasoning quickly. Of course he needs to rescue Marilyn. It fit the character’s motivations & the plot.
There was a lot of head-hopping though. Also a small annoyance, but the diction was a little all over the place as well. My main problem was that the subplot about the characters’ parents eventually became the main plot at one point. I was interested, but it distracted from the main story & seemed like it was packing in too much.
By the end, I was really pleased with how everything turned out. It was a very satisfying ending that felt right. The explanation for Marilyn’s death fit perfectly & I didn’t see it coming.
Plus the Southern vibes were a nice change for me to read. I’ve been reading so many stories set in cities, this was a lot of fun. I could picture it all very easily, the big Southern houses, the hot, fly-buzzing weather.
There’s a darker undertone throughout the story that makes it even more interesting & all the more satisfying when the tone lightens toward the end. I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a Marilyn Monroe fan. But even if you’re not (I’m more of an Audrey girl), you’ll love this rendition of her. Even though it’s around 300 pages, it’s a page-turner & a wonderfully quick read.
I have had a fascination with the life and mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe for as long as I can remember. I have read countless biographies and two rather large pictures of the Blonde Bombshell adorn my living room walls. So when I saw the title of Alexander Rigby’s latest novel, I wanted to read it. I’ll admit that futuristic novels don’t normally appeal to me but the Marilyn link sold it to me. What would Marilyn Monroe be like in 2062? How would she react to all the technology that has been introduced since 1962 and what would she make of all the controversy surrounding her death? Of course, we could never really know the answer to these questions, but I loved the idea of someone writing a piece of fiction considering them.
Jeremiah Gold, a scientific genius in 2062, builds a time machine in the form of a flying car (a floca) with the intention of taking his mum, Avery, to the future to a time when she would be able to find a cure for her brain tumour. When Avery dies before he finishes the time machine, he interprets her curious final words to mean that he should return to 1962 and rescue Marilyn Monroe from her impending death and bring her to 2062. So he does.
When Jeremiah goes back to 1962, he uses the many biographies he has in his possession to work out where he can “bump into” Marilyn in the days leading up to August 4th 1962 to gain her trust. I was a little disappointed that this section of the book was very dealt with quite quickly and I often felt like I was reading a vague reporting of the facts with a few choice meetings between Marilyn and Jeremiah stuck in between but I think that if I hadn’t read so much about Marilyn Monroe, I may not have noticed this. In the overall scheme of the novel, this section of the book merely facilitates Marilyn’s journey to 2062 so there is no requirement to go into any more detail than Rigby does, but I think it may have been interesting to explore the Kennedy’s role a bit and to give an insight to what actually happened to Marilyn that night, even in a fictional sense. Indulgence on my part, perhaps…
Once Jeremiah transports Marilyn to 2062, she doesn’t seem as shocked as I might have been if I’d found myself 100 years in the future and she seems to adapt pretty easily on the whole, which seems a bit strange. I’ll admit, by this point, I was thinking that perhaps I had expected too much from this novel and was wondering if I was going to enjoy the book as a whole. However, I stuck with it and I’m extremely glad I did!
Over the following chapters, Rigby develops the various relationships between the characters and Marilyn isn’t always the centre of attention, allowing the other characters to blossom; relationships develop and the pasts of the various characters are scrutinised, with a few revelations along the way. Marilyn is effectively left with a decision to make on how she wants to live her life going forward, and who with.
The last third of the novel is where all the things that perhaps I felt weren’t quite right earlier in the book fell into place. Just when you expect that the narrative will take you in one direction, Rigby throws in a few curveballs to make Marilyn’s journey in particular brilliantly concluded. All the little nuances from the rest of the novel are intricately woven together and it all makes absolute sense. Anything that may have seemed minor previously is tied up at the end and is very cleverly pieced together.
What Happened to Marilyn is a beautifully written, clever narrative and whilst I had my reservations at first, by the time I reached the end I thought it was a fitting fictional tribute to the legend that was Marilyn Monroe. Rigby allows her (albeit in a fictional sense) to choose her own destiny. As someone who has read endless books on Marilyn Monroe’s life and death and has developed my own theories of what really happened that night on 4th August 1962, it’s nice that at least in fiction, Marilyn Monroe has regained some control. Rigby doesn’t allow his novel to get bogged down in facts and conspiracy theories; instead it’s just a lovely story about a Hollywood legend who finds herself 100 years in the future and I would highly recommend that you give it a read!
Delightful story of love, letting go and believing in more than ordinary existence. Escape the ordinary and read it!
I got this as part of a Good Reads Giveaway win! It took me a while to get through because I had a large pile of other books I was trying to get through first. But, when I finally got to this, reading it was a breeze.
This book is very well written. The imagery is vivid. I love how certain things you expect to go one way but go completely opposite from what you would think. Case in point: “Eventually, she got sick of trying to get the dog to follow her way, so she pulled a small shot out of her purse and injected it into the animal’s neck. Jeremiah watched as the dog stuttered for a second or two, and then happily followed the woman as it went along the way. ”
It’s a mixture of mystery, sci fi (time travel), nostalgia and romance. The storyline is amusing and quite unexpected. I actually wasn’t 100% sure what to expect when I found out this was literally about saving Marilyn Monroe but the story was told in a way that didn’t force you to have to suspend your disbelief too much. I was pleasantly surprised.
Alexander Rigby provides another thought provoking read in What Happened to Marilyn. In this novel, Rigby explores the possibility of time travel, cloning and some other yet to come scientific creations.
Jeremiah Gold desperately wants to save his mother from dying of cancer by figuring out how to time travel and bringing her to a time when there will hopefully be a cure. When he is unable to do so before she loses her battle, he decides to save Marilyn Monroe. He makes this decision based on the fact that she meant so much to his mom, but also because she felt that Marilyn was taken before she was actually ready. When he is successful in bringing Marilyn back to Savannah, Georgia with him, what has he really done? By changing one life for what he believes to be the better, how has it affected others in her past and future?
One of the things I enjoy most about Rigby’s writing is the characters and how real they are. As a reader, you can feel Jeremiah’s desire to make a wish come true for his mother that he misses so much. You also fall in love with his best friend, Sarah, and house keeper, Gilly. Their compassion and caring can make your heart sink at their disappointments and rebound with happiness at better times. Of course, there is Marilyn Monroe. What to say about Marilyn Monroe? Everyone knows she was beautiful. Fans also probably know how congenial she was. During this story, she is also very soft, very forgiving and very hard not to care for.
What Happened to Marilyn is an excellent read by one of my now favorite authors. Rigby also penned The Second Chances of Priam Wood which was probably my top read of 2014.
What Happened to Marilyn is such a creative tale that had me flipping each page very quickly. I don’t want to give anything away, but the plot is very interesting and I really enjoyed reading it. I love how everything was described, the author’s writing is wonderful. Another thing I absolutely enjoyed was Mr. Rigby’s clever character names! I am most definitely recommending this book to anyone who especially loves time travel and history, like myself. It is intriguing and very much worth reading.
What Happened to Marilyn grabbed me right away due to its completely unique concept and also the fact that I adore Marilyn Monroe. Who doesn’t? However, there aren’t any good fiction stories out there that can take us back, or forward in this case, and give us a glimpse into what a romance and friendship might have been like with this famous icon. To see her in another sense, rather than the pin-up girl with the whispery voice was very fascinating. What an awesome idea!
We have a heartwarming yet mysterious vibe going on with Rigby’s story. I felt that each chapter and each POV offered enough juice so that I wasn’t left wondering how each character was going to develop. They were finely developed! And just enough of them interwoven into the story so that it wasn’t confusing. Switching POV’s between multiple characters has never bothered me. I actually felt the most drawn to Jeremiah, rather than Ms. Monroe due to the fact that he was very realistically portrayed as the guy with his heart on his sleeve. I was guiltily drawn into the connection he and Sarah had. There is nothing like a friendship turned romance in any story, but I won’t go into details hence spoiling anything.
The writing is quite descriptive and at times poetic. I noted two passages that I just loved: “Jeremiah didn’t know how to go on, he was stuck in a quagmire, drowning in salt at the bottom of the sea, as the ship that carried Marilyn…” Sooo emotional! The other is: “He didn’t know how to tell his best friend that he
thought she looked absolutely gorgeous, because he had never thought of her as being attractive prior to this night…” As I said, I’m a sucker for the best friend-turned-true love plot but again, I shall not reveal anything else. I will say that the ending was very well written and left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling after all, which I’m sure the author intended.
The topic of time travel mixed with a character whom we’d all like to imagine our own version of in this life, and the right amount of tastefully done romance makes this a great read that won’t disappoint. To close a book and not be left with dark wonder as I have been lately was refreshing. For me it was a bit lengthy and I’d liked to have seen a faster pace at times. This is my opinion only, of course.
Many thanks to Alexander Rigby for providing a copy of this book for me to read and review, and for his patience with my excruciatingly slow reading intervals. Best of luck to you!
Having read Alexander Rigby’s first novel, The Second Chances of Priam Wood, not long after its release in 2013, I picked up “What Happened to Marilyn” while it was still on preorder, keen to see how Rigby’s work is progressing. Like myself, he represents a relatively rare breed: the independently published literary author, dealing with serious themes outside of the conventions of a defined genre.
Like “Second Chances”, this latest book of Rigby’s deals with a character given another shot at living when it ought to be game over, yet flips the emphasis almost a hundred and eighty degrees. “Second Chances” was structurally experimental, showing its hero living each of seven days twice, once disastrously and the next with the benefit of greater wisdom and perspective. “What Happened” is more conventional, telling a single story straight through from beginning to end. “Second Chances”‘ innovation was in itself one of the novel’s greatest delights; here we get to see Rigby focus and pull the threads of his story together more tightly.
Where “Second Chances” was driven by structure, “What Happened” hinges on setting and character. The central premise: what if a genius from the future invented time travel and then used it to pluck Marilyn Monroe from 1960s California just hours before her death? Light science fantasy elements are used to good effect, paralleling the slight magical realism of Rigby’s earlier work: here we have flying cars, human clones, and a time machine powered by dreams that recalls the DeLorean of “Back to the Future”.
While inventor Jeremiah Gold is the protagonist, Marilyn Monroe herself plays a large part, and Rigby shows close familiarity with her work and the details of her life. I found myself inspired to research Monroe out of curiosity, but it’s not necessary to enjoy the work, as the key details are explained and the Marilyn of “What Happened” becomes an independent character after her own death.
There are numerous pleasures here. One of the highlights for me was watching Jeremiah play his part: as Marilyn’s kidnapper, he is well-intentioned, but a kidnapper nonetheless, and he swings between sympathetic and creepy as he struggles to contain his worst tendencies. The other is speculating over how it is that while Jeremiah succeeds in rescuing Marilyn, history in the 2060s continues to show that she died in exactly the same manner we are familiar with. Rigby teases us with numerous possibilities, but it is difficult to guess the correct explanation until the novel’s end finally reveals it. Much the same goes for the romantic subplots, which did not resolve as I might have expected.
Rigby professes to be taking some time off before working on another novel, and I’ll be sorry not to have another title from him next year in which to chart the further development of his talent. If you’re looking for independent literature, here it is. Now I’m on the hunt for more.
One of the most-original ideas in a novel I’ve read in a long time, “What Happened To Marilyn” took me away to the future and the past and back again to my present…and actually caused me to almost miss my train stop going to work! I read a lot on my half-hour commutes to and from, and there are few stories that allow me to zone out that much – thank you A.R.! It was a much-appreciated reprieve.
Rigby’s ease of transition from chapter to chapter and section to section is apparent as the teasers are smattered throughout the novel. Hints are given, allusions made and opportunities to make assumptions (right or wrong) abound throughout the book. His strength as a storyteller rests in his imagination and in his love of the characters he creates and, in the case of Marilyn, re-creates.
Structurally, the novel gets bogged down at times in overly-constructed sentences – more of psychological exposition rather than revealing the raw human emotion that is present through dialogue and the flow of the great story itself.
That being said, the world created for the late 21st Century is not a cliched post-Apocalyptic romp in the radioactive-tainted sand. It’s a future where the human drive still runs and human emotions still confuse. Jeremiah’s motives are cloudy as are Marilyn’s. The resolution at the end is acceptable because it’s tragically realistic (willingly suspending disbelief, of course.) It’s understandable to those who have struggled/are struggling/will struggle with flawed ways of dealing with ourselves and others.
It’s a great read and a wonderful cap to my summer lit. list!
Alexander Rigby’s romance novel “What Happened to Marilyn” was a pleasant surprise for me. I don’t often read sci-fi and didn’t know what to expect, but this unique story of time travel and romance gripped and held me. The subject matter is highly creative and original. The story moves along quickly with enough twists and turns that made me eager to read on. The characters are authentic and engaging. You become involved with them and care what will happen to them. The great amount of research Rigby did of Marilyn is evident. He makes her come to life in more ways than one. I felt I could see her and hear her voice as I read. The only thing that slowed me down a bit was that some sentences seemed a bit too long. But that might just be me. I will recommend this book to friends.
Alexander Rigby’s ‘What Happened to Marilyn’ is a fast-paced romance novel flavoured with a healthy helping of sci-fi. The characters are well-developed and believable, and the plot is highly original and creative. This is a compelling and inventive novel with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing throughout. The narrative never quite goes where you think it will, and this makes it a real page-turner. The novel is an unusual marriage of romance and science-fiction, centred around a fictionalised retelling of the life of Marilyn Monroe. While choosing such a well-known figure to focus on was a risky choice, it undoubtedly paid off, and it is clear that the author has researched the life and character of Monroe meticulously. This is a unique story by a talented young author, and certainly worth your time.
The premise of this book really interested me: A young man travels back in time to save Marilyn Monroe from her untimely, tragic death. I was unsure of the reasoning behind it at first, but Rigby convinced me of its importance in relation to the characters – and I got behind the idea rather quickly. Characterisation in What Happened to Marilyn is, in my opinion, its distinguishing quality. Yes, the narrative is an original take on the over-done time travel sci-fi trope, and it is done well… but the characters are most redeeming. What really brought the characters to life was the interaction between them. A bit dialogue-heavy, but infectiously emotional, it drives the narrative and keeps it relevant and enjoyable. Another thing I did really enjoy was the description of Savannah, Georgia. I felt as though I was transported, not only through time, but also over to another place.
Inevitably, there were certain aspects of What Happened to Marilyn that didn’t quite suit my usual tastes. I didn’t really like the explanation behind time-travel. I’d have happily gone along with being told that Jeremiah managed it because he was a genius in ways I’d never understand, rather than the explanation Rigby used. I also felt a little at sorts trying to follow a lot of the sentences, which were often too long and not very well structured. I do feel as if another line-edit might have done the world of good, but it’s not painful to read, and it may just be down to personal tastes.
I’d suggest picking up a copy of this book, whether you’re a fan of Marilyn or not. It’s not terribly complex, but has enough twisting and turning to keep any reader engaged. Personally, I’ll probably be seeking out Rigby’s debut to see what else he can come up with, because thus far I’m impressed and intrigued.
Jeremiah Gold transports Marilyn Monroe from 1962 to 2062 to save her from death. I have to resist telling any more of the story in this review because that would spoil the imaginative twists that keep the reader turning the pages. Some are likely to come as a complete surprise, others are more signposted. Either way, the vast majority are very satisfying indeed.
This sci-fi romance is a fantastical exploration of time travel and love. Mainly set in a futuristic world of love triangles, broken dreams, and a search for identity, I think this story will appeal to fans of both sci-fi and romance. The story begins with an audacious set-up and ends with one too, although I feel the middle section drifts a little.Whether Marilyn Monroe is simply a familiar name to you or whether you have devoured every biography and watched every film, you’ll recognize that the author has created a singular portrait of the heroine of this book. This inventive story sparks the imagination while you’re reading, and during reflective moments afterwards.
An original and enjoyable treat particularly for lovers of a) Marilyn Monroe and b) Time Travel but a well written love story in its own right. Kept me guessing until the end.
In 2062, time travel is a reality. So what better way to use that technology than to travel to 1962 and rescue the sex symbol of the 1950′s and 1960′s…Marilyn Monroe. That’s exactly what Jeremiah, our main character, does in this story. But while there have been countless tales of romancing time travelers, Alexander Rigby’s novel What Happened to Marilyn is a decidedly new twist on the theme.
Jeremiah doesn’t set out on his quest in a lust for Marilyn; he has a quite different purpose (which I won’t reveal or it’ll spoil the story). But he does rescue Marilyn and bring her to the year 2062. But here’s where the mystery begins, as history still show her as dying in 1962. Jeremiah is at his wits end trying to figure out why the timeline hasn’t been altered. I can’t go into any more detail as to why it wasn’t changed (I refuse to ruin this tale!), but rest assured, you won’t want to put this book down until you find out.
It’s not only a great storyline that makes this an interesting book. There are great descriptions of Savannah Georgia, as well as various homes and public structures. It’s quite apparent that Rigby did his homework as well. There were lots of details about Marilyn, where she lived, her habits, personality and so on, enough so that by the end of the story, she felt like a personal friend.
The emotional engagement is what really set this story apart. We see the inner demons that Jeremiah experiences, and feel the emotional rollercoaster that is Marilyn Monroe. There’s plenty of interpersonal interaction, and we experience an intertangled web of emotion between the main characters. This book was a departure from what I normally read (scifi adventure and thrillers), and yet I enjoyed it thoroughly. Two thumbs up!
You’ll get sucked in by Rigby’s use of historical and geographical cues amidst a time-bending romantic narrative. The story is obviously informed by thorough research on the iconic subject, whose mystery-shrouded demise has, and will continue to draw the gaze and speculation of popular culture for decades. If you are a die-hard Back to the Future fan, or swoon over star (time) crossed lovers, the themes that smoothly lead you from cover to cover will find something inside you with which to resonate. A simpler read than his complex debut, The Second Chances of Priam Wood, Marilyn is true to Rigby’s elaborate writing style, and exchanges deep philosophical inquiry for equally intelligent but more immediately digestible material
This novel has a vivid, fast moving plot. It is a good read for those who like romance.
Love her or hate her (or anywhere in between), Marilyn Monroe is the most ubiquitous blonde in human history. Her popularity doesn’t wax or wane; it’s constant and eternal – and sometimes unfathomable. Just what is it about this tormented actress that everyone finds so appealing? So captivating? Rigby’s second novel seeks to answer these questions while at the same time exploring common yet unresolved conflicts of the human condition like fame, family, love, and mortality. After devouring this remarkable story (which features such a carefully crafted facsimile of Marilyn that you’ll often hear her voice running through your head, even as you read the words on the page), I feel we’re closer to those answers, though they still manage to taunt us just out of reach. But, ultimately, that seems to be Rigby’s main statement here: transcending time isn’t about living forever. While Marilyn’s life was cut tragically short, her torch continues to blaze as each successive generation discovers her films and her history anew. In this way, she lives on. What Happened to Marilyn serves as another stone in the edifice that is Marilyn’s legacy, strengthening it and ensuring that this blonde beauty’s enthusiasm for life will provide love and light for generations to come.
Imagine if Marilyn Monroe hadn’t died that fateful night on August 5th, 1962. Imagine if she was living out her life, in another place, in another time…in the future. This is the premise for the engaging and fully satisfying science fiction tale that Rigby has crafted. The story focuses on a young brilliant man named Jeremiah Gold, who leaves his home in Savannah, GA in the year 2062, to save Marilyn from dying in 1962, and brings her back with him to the future he is from. This book combines romance, mystery, and science fiction in a wonderful way. I loved the story and the characters, and the end of the novel even made me teary eyed. I highly recommend this book!
This was a fantastic book to read!! I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of such an iconic figure like Marilyn Monroe and the possibility of time travel….the author did a decent amount of research with correlating the fictional story of what really happened to her with lining up the dates and details of where she was her last few days. I fell in love with the different characters, they were all so unique and a great cast that really added to the story lines. This book had everything: time travel, love triangle, family dynamics, life in a southern town, and the history of Marilyn Monroe, I will be recommending this book to my friends!
Publishers Weekly Review:
“Rigby presents a passionate, highly relatable love story based on a fantasy-tinged premise. When 70-year-old painter Priam Wood dies, his dog, Chloe, meets him in the afterlife to offer a unique opportunity. Priam can receive do-overs for the seven days of his life he most regrets, but first he must experience each day as he originally lived it. As he relives the tragedy that happened to his son, Charlie, and the loss of his love, Ellie, Priam quickly learns that changing the trajectory of his life is not as easy as it seems, and the things he changes can significantly alter the future—and not always for the better. His despair as he relives his past is poignantly juxtaposed against the urgency he feels in trying to correct his mistakes during the second chances. Rigby ties characters, even peripheral ones, throughout the threads of both stories, proposing that we fatefully meet people we are intended to meet. Rigby wraps up his story with a tight, satisfying ending that gives meaning to Priam’s journey and provides readers with a keen lesson in the importance of forgiveness, making amends, and never wasting a moment.”
The best of this novel echoes John Irving and his great imagination, storytelling, and love for his characters. It’s an ambitious, far-fetched premise, this tale of meeting a talking dog after death and getting the chance to relive 7 days of a life in order to undo wrongs both real and imagined; an ambitious premise that the author pulls off quite well, allowing readers to suspend disbelief and enjoy what John Gardener referred to as fiction’s “continuous dream.” It’s a perhaps surprising craft choice to tell such a sweeping novel in the present tense, a tense best suited to the urgency and immediacy of certain short stories, but the form follows function (there is great urgency and immediacy to Priam’s second chances) and again the author succeeds. Despite the dark themes of this novel–guilt, shame, feelings of unworthiness, death, suicide, war, and terrorism–the novel is for the most part a warm, interesting, and uplifting read. Overall, this is a moving story of loss and regret and salvation, of life as journey, and of souls as forever students.
In terms of what might be improved, the novel would benefit from further editing: Proofreading (largely for omitted words and awkward sentences) and reworking (largely for sentence variety and to tighten for repetition and redundancy). There’s also some overwriting of plot, descriptions, emotion, metaphors, and similes. My sense is that this author needs to trust his story and his talent more and avoid hyperbole. Ironically, for a novel that underscores the reality that perfection in anything is impossible, the novel feels a little too neat and all tied-together at the end.
I went into this book blind, wanting to know nothing about it before I read. When I realized the sort of story it was, I was immediately intrigued. The subject of the after life is something I’ve truly enjoyed reading in literature. While not a new genre, the novel definitely has originality in its execution. The structure is organized and simple, almost acting as a timeline on a roadmap. It was a hands-on experience. I found myself going back to previous chapters and playing different scenarios and order of events out in my head before moving onto the next one. The concept and question posed are not original (nor do they need to be) but are equally as beautiful and presented in a unique way: What regrets do you have in your life and how would you fix them?
There is a good balance of descriptive imagery and story-telling, and a wonderful development of characters. I was especially attached to the relationship between the protagonist and his son. There was a particular scene towards the end where I immediately began to cry tears of joy, seeing that (SPOILER ALERT) Priam was able to see his son so happy after so many years had passed between them. The book really made me think, and the reveal/plot twist at the end equally moved me to tears and completely made sense. I asked Rigby a few questions after reading the book, and was surprised to learn that idea just came to him as he was writing. It wasn’t originally in the story. I am so happy he thought of it, because it made his already beautiful story absolutely gorgeous.
The book is poignant and nostalgic, and I’d recommend it to many, but especially those that love Mitch Albom and the book Cloud Atlas. A true pleasure and experience to read. I thank the author for sharing his gift, and am excited to see what comes next.
As far as anything goes this book is way outside of anything I normally read. Anyone who knows me can tell you I am a diehard horror fan. And because of that it took me almost a year to read. I am going to do my best to not give away any spoilers.
The novel can pretty much be summed up by what our main character says here, “I realize as I drive that that I am both the protagonist and antagonist of my story. The only real villain that existed during my life was myself. I was the won who messed things up, I was the one who did things wrong. Yet all the while I was the one who was trying to make things right. It‘s as if I‘ve been split down the middle and the two sides have battled one another to try to find some common ground to settle everything, so that the subtle silence wouldn‘t end up all on its own.”
It is the story of a man on his deathbed who has made mistakes and wants to fix them. It is a good heartfelt story. And I can and would recommend this to anyone who likes slow, subtle prose, and deliberate straightforward storytelling. This author does that very well. And he is as much in love with the characters as they are with each other.
If you want a fast paced story this is not your book. For me it kind of dragged on a bit but the story is beautifully told and well written. I would recommend the book to anyone who loves a good love story.
I can only give it 4 stars because I have nothing else to compare it to, again because this is way outside my usual genre of reading.
The Second Chances of Priam Wood brings about many thought provoking feelings. Priam Wood is a man who always means well, but somehow seems to do or say the wrong thing as well as seemingly miss important opportunies. As Wood passes away, he finds that he is given the chance to relive seven days of his life. Without hesitation, he jumps at this opportunity. We, the readers, are brought along on these “redo’s” after first reliving the orginal happenstance.
What is most interesting about this book is how it makes you feel. Rigby immediately draws you into his characters and I quickly felt like a member of the family watching from afar. Although I could definitely feel Priam’s angst in regards to certain events and outcomes of his life and the people he holds closest to him, I constantly worried for him for is the grass always greener on the other side? Not only that, but if you change how something originally happened, how will it affect everything after that?
Do things happen for a reason? Is life like a Rube Goldberg Machine? What will happen if I choose the path on the right instead of the left? These are all thoughts that I contemplated as I read this novel. If not for our mistakes, how will we learn?
Alexander Rigby wrote a book that not only made me feel, but think. There were times I wanted to hug Priam, but also slap him or sit him down to have a good talking to. I wanted to read about his life. I wanted him to be love and be loved. I wanted him to realize the importance of his life. Do we all harbor regrets? Most certainly. But isn’t that what makes the world go round? If we all knew the exact right decision to make at each moment of our lives, it would be easy. But if life was easy, would it be as interesting?
I realize as I write this summation of my thoughts that I am still asking questions. However, I believe that a good book should make you ask questions. It should make you want to read it and it should simply make you want more. This book achieved all of that for me and I am looking forward to reading more, more, more from Rigby.
The Author has developed a page turning story of an opportunity to relive a day with a second chance. It is a wish that each person has probably wanted to relive at least one day and change it for the better. Rigby’s main character Priam Wood is presented with seven chances to change seven days that he wished he could change. The opening hooks you as you read on in the first chapter and want to keep reading page after page to observe what Priam Wood will do with his second chances. Will he make change for the better? Can Priam enrich his life and those involved in his second chance revisit? Would the reader want a chance such as the opportunities presented to Priam?
It is well written with engaging dialogue. There is no drop off of interest nor tedious waste of words to fill up pages. It is well deserving of its good reviews and its honorary awards in fiction. The next novel about Marilyn Monroe will surely be an interesting look from a different perspective as Rigby has succeeded in placing into his literary style.
This book was actually very beautiful.
I was lucky enough to win a free copy
and the moment I started it, I did not put it down.
Regret is a very powerful thing and as Priam died he realized all of
The things he had done wrong.
He is given a chance to change 7 days of his life,
But the first day will change how the next days play out.
He is given a second chance to relive and fix what he had done wrong.
This book is definitely worth reading.
I LOVED it.
I received a free copy of the book in a Goidreads giveaway. I was a little intimidated when I received it, since it is close to 500 pages and I knew it wouldn’t be a quick, light-hearted read. However, once I started reading I was quickly hooked. The idea of going back and changing events that we regret is something that everyone can relate to, and it’s interesting to see how one small change can affect numerous events throughout the lives of many. I loved the book and would recommend reading it. It’s very thought provoking and I can’t wait to see what the author writes next.
Lots of twists and turns in this one! Will keep you wanting more up until the very end of it!
The author has created a wonderful and different story idea. I was hooked right from the beginning. If you had seven days to live over again, do you know which ones you would pick? Priam Wood did. This is a long story of love and loss, knowledge and atonement, and apologies and forgiveness. Very well written with a good flow of events. Great job.
This book came to me in a similar fashion as the white abyss Alexander writes of. At many points while reading I connected to many of the characters, situations, feelings and thoughts of the world that surrounds us. I very much enjoyed this read and would recommend it highly. I have no doubt you will relate to one if not more of the perfectly defined souls within.
This isn’t the usual type or genre of book I read or enjoy, so began the read with a sense of trepidation.
However the author’s style of writing, the way he somehow makes the story and book flow with such ease surprised and impressed me (I should not of worried). I read page after page in no time at all! and bang, I was hooked. The story is an interesting and fascinating one about second chances with a lead character you just want to (at times) kick up the behind.
The author is clearly very talented and I am very impressed with what he has done here, he should definitely pat himself on the back…and then get back to writing his next book.
I really enjoyed reading this. The topic is something i’m sure we have all thought about from time to time, it was really interesting to see how Priam Wood dealt with the changes he has provoked by reliving certain days in his life. The book was really well-written and very emotional, Alexander Rigby has created characters that you can really care about and by the end of the novel I had developed a deep empathy for Priam Wood as he dealt with how the important people in his life have been changed and affected by the re-living of his chosen seven days. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone looking for a deep, thought-provoking book that handles love and loss in a really sensitive way.
Beautifully written! Great story! Loved every page. Alexander Rigby is an amazing author and will go far in his young career! Can’t wait to read more of his stories! I highly recommend this book!!!
The Second Chances of Priam Wood by Alexander Rigby tells the story of a wistful man on his deathbed whose afterlife presents the unexpected opportunity to relive seven of his most regretted days.
While time travel is not always an accessible topic, Rigby is able to reach out to all audiences by capturing the fundamental human experience: love and loss. As Priam Wood retreats into several nightmarish days of his life, his ability to alter the future allows us to understand the torture of regret. Through the various episodes of Priam’s life, Second Chances hits hard on the idea of decision-making and its karmic significance.
In his debut novel, Rigby develops complicated plot, characters, and metaphors and does so with an obvious passion for writing. The novel is quite lengthy and therefore not a quick read, but the plot turns and character revelations are compelling and well paced, urging the reader to return. While parts of the lengthy novel could be polished and trimmed, the storyline is very unique and entertaining, and I look forward to reading Rigby’s next work.
When Priam Wood dies he is given the opportunity to repeat seven days of his life. First he becomes a passenger in his own body, witnessing a day exactly as it originally occurred, and then he has a precious second chance to actively relive that day in order to try and put right mistakes he’s made and hopefully alter key events. At the end of the seven days, the big question is, “Which was the better life?”
This is a wonderfully complex, utterly enthralling book, and hats off to the author for choosing a structure that works perfectly to show the original life and the increasingly different new one.
I was very impressed by the way in which the author convincingly takes Priam from childhood through adolescence into the stages of adulthood to old age, and how his relationships with his mother, brother, children, and wife, Ellie, develop. Each one is detailed and heart-felt, with his love for his wife engaging me the most. The concept of Priam the artist and Ellie the ballet dancer has a natural romance at its heart, and their glorious heady youthful love through to the painful complexities of later years is beautifully expressed.
However, as much as I enjoyed the story and many aspects of the author’s writing style, I found it too wordy. I do feel a little awkward making this comment about someone who has a clear talent for writing, but the over-writing got in the way on a number of occasions. For example, for me, the detailed explanation after the end of the seventh day reduced the impact and mystery of this amazingly creative and thoughtful work.
I will definitely be looking out for Alexander Rigby’s next book. I sense that I’ve found an author who is on the verge of a very exciting writing career.
I must say I was intrigued by the concept of this story. What if … we could go back and relive any of the days in our lives that we feel was completely messed up or so horrible to live through?
There are already so many lovely reviews on this story and I agree with what each of them had to say even thought I did not read any of them before reading this heartwarming book. I would only like to add that I found it hard to leave the story at any point and get some sleep so paced myself through the reading of it, perhaps for me this was better as I gave myself time to absorb each of the seven days that Priam Wood got a second chance. I loved this story and will recommend it to my friends and family so that they too might wonder, what if? Thank you to this new and upcoming author for writing such an engaging and heartwarming story about love and family.
I believe that everyone alive has had moments where they wish they would have done one or more things differently. Unfortunately, words, once spoken, cannot be taken back. Or can they? With this wonderfully romantic tale of getting a chance to right wrongs, Priam Wood is allowed to choose seven days to right some of his wrongs. And in doing so, he vastly changes the outcome of his entire life.
From the very first page, I was smitten with Priam. In this feel good paranormal fiction, the reader hopes that Priam will be able to make the changes that will bring him ultimate joy and bliss. The author has done an amazing job of characterization. The emotions felt by the characters are genuine and authentic, lending credibility to this fictional tale.
My favorite character is Priam. As I read, I cheered with him when the second chances of each day resulted in positive outcomes towards his eternal bliss. I also identified with his pain when sometimes things didn’t work out quite as he would have hoped. I encourage anyone desiring a feel good, romantic, sci-fi fiction to purchase this title. I enjoyed reading every word of Rigby’s tale of The Second Chances of Priam Wood, and I’m sure you will too.
A beautiful story, The Second Chances of Priam Wood is destined to be a classic. From the moment I started reading, I was absorbed by the words. The author writes with depth and passion, crafting a wonderful literary work.
The storyline is inviting because it’s a question most of us think about. What if? What if each one of us was given the chance to relive seven days of our lives? With the help of his guide, in the form of man’s best friend, Priam Wood is given the opportunity to experience just that. With the slightest modification in history, anything or anyone could change.
Have you ever suffered from regret? Do you believe in second chances? If you were given the chance to relive the most regrettable days of your life, would you? Author Alexander Rigby looks at these questions in his debut novel, “The Second Chances of Priam Wood.”
As he floats through some kind of afterlife holding space immediately following his death at 70 years old, Priam Wood is visited by the last living soul who loved him on earth, his dog, Chloe. Chloe magically grants him the opportunity to relive the seven days he regretted most in his life, and he can make any changes that he would like in order to rectify his mistakes. The catch? Priam has to live the days as they originally occurred first before he can make the changes he so desperately wants to make. The journey he embarks on in the quest to save love and create happiness is both painful and full of hope.
In this touching novel, Rigby explores the ideas of love, family, life and death in a unique way through experiences relived in the life of his main character. Through extensive dialogue and memory playback, we see how Priam learns more about himself, his capacity for love, and how mistakes shaped his life through his deepest regrets. We learn through his story that even though we may try to rectify previous mistakes, real life will never be free of pain. After all is said and done, would you choose the seven days as they occurred originally in your life? Or would you choose the altered days, with the potential for a whole new set of personal tragedies? “The Second Chances of Priam Wood” gives readers a creative way to weigh the consequences of regret and second chances in one man’s life.
What would you do if given the chance to have a “do-over” for seven days of your life that had regrettable endings? This is the premise of Alexander Rigby’s novel ‘The Second Chances of Priam Wood’. For seventy year-old Priam, life has dealt him a line of heartache. There is so much grief that one can only feel sympathy for him. When his life comes to a close, he meets an unexpected friend, his cherished dog Chloe. Able to communicate with Priam, she explains that he is in neither heaven nor hell. She gives him the chance to relive seven days of his life that may have changed his overall direction as well as the direction of those he loves. Then, he is given the chance to live the days again and possess the need to change the situation.
When I began this novel, I was afraid that I would not be able to separate the original day from the second chance day. However, as I continued reading, there was no confusion at all. Mr. Rigby does an outstanding job keeping the flow of the novel from becoming confusing. This book kept me intrigued with the unique storyline and superb character development. I felt as if I was a part of Priam Wood’s family meandering through the plot with him. What seems like a complex storyline is actually a wonderful, sequenced plot.
I am pleased to know that such thought-provoking writing has come from a talented author’s debut novel. I am looking forward to reading the next book Rigby writes. I recommend this awe inspiring novel and proudly give it five stars.
Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite
Alexander Rigby tells the story about a man’s redemption from his own regrets in “The Second Chances of Priam Wood”. Seventy year old Priam Wood had died, but the afterlife wasn’t something he had expected at all. Chloe, his Golden Retriever that died several days before him, appeared and greeted him as his guide. The old artist was told that he had second chances to change the seven days of his past life. It was a revelation that was double-edged, for he could easily fail and things might become worse. But with his beloved dog’s support, Priam Wood decided to make everything right and those seven days given to him were about to be a priceless life lesson that he overlooked when he was still alive.
The very first chapter started slowly for me but I was glad the pace picked up when Priam died and was greeted by Chloe in the world between the living and the dead. The writing is flawless; the seven days that the character had to re-live is told in details and isn’t rushed. The concept of the story isn’t new, nevertheless it is beautifully and genuinely written. Moreover, the lessons and inspiration that one could take from this book are plenty: live life to the fullest, nothing lasts forever and you don’t know what you have got until it is gone. The depth of this story was astonishing. This is a kind of book that you will want to read while you are relaxing no matter where or when.
If you could relive seven days of your life and change the things you regretted the most, would you?
‘The Second Chances of Priam Wood’ isn’t something I would normally chose to read but after reading the synopsis I decided I had to give it a go. I am glad I did as i found it to be an excellent read. It was well written and had me captivated almost from the beginning.
My emotions were in turmoil throughout! One minute I’m holding my breath waiting to see the outcome the next I was crying in heartbreak only to laugh in disbelief. I couldn’t make heads or tails of how I was feeling as it was rapidly changing.
I’ve never read anything like it. I was so moved by the story, and what a great one it is. Following Priam’s life was very interesting, to see the mistakes and the choices he made to alter them. I was so captivated it felt like I wasn’t reading the story, I was actually living it along with them.
This novel made me think of what I would do if I were put in his shoes. What seven days would I chose to revisit and amend? It’s a lot harder than it first seems! I feel for Priam at having to go through the original days over again but am then glad he has his chance to rectify them.
The ending didn’t turn out as I hoped it would; it was even better!
Alexander Rigby has been put on my *Must Read Author list* I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
As humans, we all think about what could have been, or circumstances we wish we could change, words we wish were never said. Some individuals even say, “If I am given the chance, I want to redo a few things in my life.” This book begins an internal discussion on what you would change and eventually makes you question if a change would be worthwhile.
In The Second Chances of Priam Wood, we meet an old man at the end of his life. As death comes, so does a dog. In fact, it is Mr. Priam Wood’s dog Chloe. She offers Priam the once in a, ahem, lifetime opportunity to redo parts of his life, but the catch is he can only redo 7 days. Priam laments he has many days he would like to change, yet chooses the 7 days that stand out the most. Each day he relives the original day without being able to interfere and once the day is over, he is allowed to begin again this time with the ability to change the situations. Throughout the process, he learns how much is changed with one decision and is faced with having to deal with new, never before experienced, situations.
While this read might not be for a day at the pool, it is definitely a good read. It gets one thinking about how they would change their life if they were able, but also makes the individual think about how different their life and others lives would be once the changes were made. I liked the layout of having the original day as one chapter and the new day as the other chapter. It was engaging and thought provoking. The random twists throughout it added to the story. I think it is incredible that the author chose this format for his debut novel. It is a pretty massive undertaking and is refreshing in this world of rehashes.
It is a very interesting concept, being given the chance to live a certain amount of days over. Which days would I choose? I didn’t really like or connect with the main character, Priam, but having said that – I felt sorry for him and wanted to know how it would all turn out. In essence he was just an average man doing what he thought was best. I think that many people will be able to relate to him or his family members. I also really enjoyed the way the story twisted from the first day. The character development of Priam and his supporting cast was well mapped out. By the end of the book I felt like one of the family.
The key message for me was to never take anything for granted. Even though it’s fiction, there is a very real and deep message in the story. Since finishing the book a few weeks ago, I often find myself wondering what decisions have I made today that would make me need to choose today as one of my seven to do over.
When one sits with a book, what are your expectations? Character development? A well developed story? An emotional connection between the tale on the page and the thoughts between your own two eyes? Well, I can genuinely relay to you that this book contains all of those features. At just below 500 pages, Mr. Rigby paces a well thought out tale in a perfect way. Between the introduction of characters and how the plot and several sub-plots develop, it never feels rushed, neither does it drag on. IT rides a fine line that often times authors find themselves on the wrong side of. Yet once again, our author avoids all those pitfalls here.
What really makes this a good story, that hooks the reader is the fact that even though it may seem as if the story is far fetched, it really connects with the reader on an emotional scale. Every human being has made mistakes and everyone has wanted a “do over” about certain things in their lives. This story presents that concept and makes it feel real, so real that one might wonder if the author himself has gone through all of the things presented here.
Yet the author does not become self absorbed in the protagonist and all of the characters are developed with the well loving care of an author that has truly thought out this story. He maintains a literal plot, yet fills the pages with deep metaphors that resonate with a reader and allows for one to truly reflect on not only the story but also their own life. Yet even if that is the case, it is an easy story to be consumed with and readers of all ages, from young teenagers to adults should be able to appreciate this book and that is a gift in itself.
Finally, I recommend this book for any reader that is looking for a tale that will stay with them long past the moment in which they finish the final page. If that simple summary seems like the kind of book for you, buy without hesitation and support an author well worth your time.
We all have regrets. Is it a mistake to wish that you could remake your life by changing the choices you made? This is the central question of Alexander Rigby’s first novel, *The Second Chances of Priam Wood.* Exhibiting subtle elements of magical realism, or at the least a metaphysical outlook, the novel gives its protagonist a literal chance to relive his life.
Rigby shows us the evocative, tragic first version of his protagonist’s life, along with his alternative choices and their results, which represent the outcome of a worldview based on love, self-belief, and the rejection of anger. *Second Chances* is the debut of a promising storyteller.
It doesn’t push it on you, but there’s a subtle message here about how to live your life, and it’s a good one, full of positivity. From of the tragedy of Priam’s first chances, in the second we wring redemption.
By a third or so of the way in, there were moments where I had my iPhone up close to my face and was leaning in to the story–I finished off a whole chapter while drinking beer at a Japanese restaurant in Thailand. I thoroughly recommend *The Second Chances of Priam Wood*–it’s a story that grows on you, populated by characters that grow on you, and its literary game of spot the difference becomes thoroughly enthralling.
“The Second Chances of Priam Wood” is a refreshing story that’s filled with pages of hope, wonder, sadness and understanding. I found myself close to tears during the final chapters solely because I knew our character’s story was coming to an end, and I wasn’t ready to let go. Rigby’s relatable and lovable characters create a unique story that leaves you in wonderment toward life’s strangest possibilities. This timeless story is a must read for all ages.
In death Priam Wood is offered the chance to relive seven days of his life. Filled with regret at a life of loss and disappointment, Priam relives the days he considered would have changed the direction of his life and the lives of those he loved.
With its constantly changing perspectives this would have been an ambitious undertaking for an experienced writer. The fact that this is Alexander Rigby’s debut novel is all the more remarkable.
Mr Rigby would have been forgiven for peopling such an intricate, ever shifting storyline with characters who are simply there to progress the plot. But in fact some of the characters are as complex and multilayered as the story.
I have a particular fondness for moments of poetry produced by good prose; such as: `The shadows of the trees fall upon the grass and make up monsters that fight with one another as the light shifts and sways them.’
As another reviewer has observed, Mr Rigby has a tendency to overwrite. Some passages could have been tighter, more condensed, allowing the reader to join the dots. This is an author who clearly enjoys his work, however sometimes less really is more.
All in all however this is a worthy debut novel by a very talented author who clearly has a lot of potential, and I look forward to reading his next piece of work.
I am out of my usual genre here so please forgive me if my comments are misplaced. Careful not to leave spoilers. The book is well written and the main character is very human; warts and all. The structure of the book pulls you along through the story very nicely, and I was always loathe to put the book down, instead reading on in order to get to the end of a ‘chance’.
For me, the most striking element of the book was its thought-provoking nature; how much does every action affect our own futures, and those of our loved ones. I was always fascinated to see how the second chances panned out.
There are times when I wanted to reach into the book and shake the man, but then that is testament to the skill of the author in making Priam Wood real. None of us are perfect after all, and the book does a lot to show the failings in human nature in all of the characters.
The love story was very good, and I was rooting for them, even though I would normally avoid romance like the plague. (Not in life, but in literature.) It did leave me feeling positive, in the sense that we all have a hand in our own destinies to some extent or another.
Well worth a read.
Rigby gives a completely new look into other paradoxes and places beyond the imagination of the realm of reality and life in general in this amazing book. When I say amazing, I mean the definition of, “Maze” (An intricate, usually confusing network of interconnecting pathways). However, he has made this book easily in a way so that the reader will not get confused, by taking his time by making a nearly 500 page long book, at the same time the words that created paragraphs and stories were never boring.
The characters were easy to keep up with. It was not a he said/she said kind of book. It was a privilege to read The Second Chances of Priam Wood.
I highly recommend this book to readers of all sorts, to explore the world of someone passing on, for believers and non-believers of second life terms. I noticed a spirituality of greatness within this novel, and things that just could not be explained about the after (Sci-fi) life in Rigby’s novel. Therefore I gave it a 5 star rating.
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book. It is worthy of your time to read. I am younger than the the main character, but I am approaching the age of reflection. I, like Priam have made many mistakes in my life. Would I change them if I could? I only wish that I had the chance.
Priam, upon his death is given this chance. The book is the story of his life, his mistakes and regrets. It is also the story of his love, his triumphs and his desires.
Priam gets to relive seven days of his choosing. After he relives the day, he gets a second chance at redemption. A day changed affects the next day chosen. An interesting concept.
The subject is an interesting one. It is handled in depth with tenderness and great insight into the characters. A lot happens over the course of the novel and I wanted to find out how Alexander Rigby would bring resolution to his book. The story has a unique and satisfying conclusion.
I do think that the book is a bit long and could have been a bit less wordy in some spots. That being said, I believe that the the author in his enthusiasm was trying to make sure that we, the audience, got the full picture he was trying to paint.
A fulfilling and interesting read, Rigby has produced an intelligent and thought-provoking novel. At times poignant, at others humorous, this novel contains an intense mix of heady emotions to excellent effect.
The depiction of childhood in a saccharine-sweet American suburb is realistic without ever being boring. Rigby manages to encapsulate the thoughts and feelings of his characters in a way that fully engages the reader and truly brings the story to life.
I never found a good point to stop reading this novel – I always wanted to read a little more. The descriptions of the love shared between Priam and Ellie are done beautifully without being too sickly. You find yourself really rooting for these characters very quickly, and that is surely the sign of an excellent writer.
This is at times a complex narrative which deserves your full attention. I highly recommend this novel and look forward to seeing what Rigby will produce in the future.
Basing your first novel on a man who goes back in time is a challenging venture. Interacting in the past with knowledge of the future, makes for complexities that surely arise at each turn in the plot. Mixing multiple story lines and timelines, a beautiful love story and constantly evolving and devolving characters only adds to the complexity. There is a bit of magic, and surprises abound, particularly in the conclusion. With his time-bending debut, Alexander Rigby mostly overcomes these challenges by fashioning a novel that is flawed, but heartfelt, passionate and ultimately satisfying.
This is a huge undertaking. Where confusion might reign, reasoned delineation instead follows. Furthermore, Rigby not only devises a plot line, but he does so with some artistic merit. He clearly loves to put words together.
Priam Wood is highly sensitive, irrational, careless, and loving. His love for his eventual wife, Ellie, is limitless and timeless – and hers for him. It is obvious they are meant for each other. Both characters are well-conceived and realized through the writing, and both (especially Priam) progress. The other characters, from Danny, Priam’s brother; to Charlie, Priam’s son; to Priam’s mother, are forced by the interwoven, parallel timelines to progress, regress, progress, but they do so plausibly. This is a plot-driven work, but the characters move believably with it – a credit to Rigby’s talent.
There are times when Rigby over-writes when he instead should rein in. A seasoned, firm editor would have helped him focus his vision to moving the plot consistently forward and helped to cut unnecessary text. Also, his love of word play and sentence construction sometimes clouds his intent. But as I’ve told writing students in the past, it is generally better to give the reader too much than too little.
Rigby has crafted a solid debut. The flaws exhibited in Second Chances will no doubt give way to increased confidence and skill. I am guessing that this will be immediately apparent in his next work because this is a writer who cares about his craft.
The depth of this story astounded me. I read The Second Chances of Priam Wood while relaxing; however, I also read it while doing dishes, brushing my teeth, walking down the hall, cooking dinner, etc… My life was rearranged around making time to devour this novel and I stole every spare moment available. Everyday activities were disregarded. If you’re looking for a book that will haunt you for days to come…this is it.
Alexander Rigby writes a fascinating tale that poses the question, “If you could re-live seven days of your life, which would you choose and would you do it?” Written in a mature voice, this story takes us on an adventure through the life of Priam Wood. Intricately woven on multiple parallels, Priam guides you through the journey of his seven chosen days; the original way and with potential for a second chance.
Rigby’s characters (human and canine) are both lovable and believable, each flawed in their own unique way. You’ll laugh, cry, sympathize and empathize from the first page to the last. On numerous occasions, I found myself immersed deep within in the story and unable to put it down. The realism within Priam, Ellie, Danny, Moira, etc… gripped me like a vice with complex layers of characterization and how they related to the plot. Literally, I felt as if I was inside this book…living life alongside the characters.
Five stars to Alexander Rigby for a job well done. With a book this stellar, I’m anxious to see what his imagination comes up with next.
This is the kind of novel that wraps you up within it’s pages and leaves you transfixed until the very end. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me cry. Not only that, this novel made me contemplate my own life and forced me to think about whether or not I would relive certain days of my life if given the chance.
I loved the way this book was set up, starting out with Priam on his deathbed, as he thought about the regrets he had and how he wished to change them. While the main focus of the story rests upon the seven days which Priam chooses to relive and change, I am so happy that there were sections included in between each of the different days to explain what happened during Priam’s life on the days which we don’t get to spend with him. So while this is a story about how seven days occurred in a life and how they went wrong, and then about the journey to change those seven days and make them right, it is also the story about one man’s life, and how he wishes to be the best man he can be.
The characters were all so memorable, and I thought Priam was constructed as a wonderfully flawed, confused, distraught and beautiful human. As this book describes, he is both the hero and the villain of his own story, for he is battling against the mistakes he previously made, and trying to right them with time, and the people he loves the most. The way Priam loves Ellie is the way I wish to be loved one day. Their relationship is so realistic, for even though they are soul mates, their love isn’t perfect, and it breaks and bends at time, but in the end they are there for one another when they need to be.
In the end, everything comes full circle and all of the questions you want to know the answers to are explained. There is a slight twist as the conclusion arrives, but it is a satisfying one, the kind that makes the story all the more better. Some time in the future I am sure I will read this book again. I loved it that much.
I loved the storyline, and the characters that were created for this novel. I could picture them all. The situations they were put in all seemed plausible, even as the days bounced back and forth between the way they originally happend and the second chances Priam embarked on to change. I loved the story of Ellie, how Priam expressed his love for her beauty, her dancing, and her great support of his talents. I mourned for Charlie, and the unfairness which he was confronted with. Certain things about this novel stuck out to me, affecting me personally, as I related with the story and all of the characters so deeply.
How I wish my love life could be this vivid. Mr. Rigby asks the questions that shape humanity. What would we do if we got a second chance? I would like to think that I would do things differently, but then again, who knows? I can honestly say I cried from beginning to end. It’s a beautiful story, worth every minute I spent on it.
This book reminds us all that we should never take life for granted and live each day to the fullest because there are no guarantees that any of us will get a do over. I loved the characters and I couldn’t wait to get to the end to see how it all came together. The narrative is complex, as it tells the life story of Priam through his perspective on many different days, but the author is able to weave the details together in a pleasing way. The novel comes full circle at the end, and it really gets you thinking about your own life, and what you would do if given a second chance.
“Second Chances” is a really enjoyable read that asks some surprisingly deep questions through the lens of its two main characters: the star-crossed lovers, Priam and Ellie. We meet a whole cast of characters whose lives and choices affect Priam’s life, just as his choices affect theirs. The closer you get to the end of the story, the less each storyline resembles the other, which makes for some pretty enjoyable – and suspenseful – moments. “Second Chances” has a great message, and it’s sure to appeal to all types of readers.
Rigby has maturely developed a story of love and loss, regret and retribution in a manner bordering on the artistic. Symmetry and parallel plot lines are like intentionally placed brush strokes in this mind-bending and mind-opening chronological narrative. I would compare the style and emotion to “What Dreams May Come”. Introspective, socially aware, beautiful.
Loved the characters in this book and their stories…..it has a great message and really makes you think, what would you do with your life if you were given a second chance? The love story between Priam and Ellie is so genuine and makes you smile! A great book to pick up and read, you won’t be disappointed! A new author to look out for