Life, After – Sarah Darer Littman
For Dani, life in Argentina hasn’t been very normal or happy for a long time. A terrorist attack, which killed Dani’s aunt and unborn cousin, has sent the country into economic ruin. When Dani’s family can’t hold out any longer, they move to New York. It’s supposed to be a fresh start, but when you’re living in a cramped apartment, have an angry father, and are going to high school where all the classes are in another language – and not everyone is friendly – life in America is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Then Dani becomes friends with Jon – who isn’t like all the other students – and popular Jessica who is hiding a painful loss of her own. And then there’s Brian, the boy who makes Dani’s pulse race. In her new life, the one After, Dani finds the courage to heal and forgive, and to love and be loved again.
This is a sweet little book. After a terrorist attack devastates the Argentinian economy, many families are forced to conserve what they have. ‘Life, After’ is the story of Dani Bensimon and her family, following the death of a much loved Aunt, who was killed in the aforementioned attack, and their new life in New York.
The writing is gentle and affects you in a quiet way, so much so that it almost goes unnoticed. The imagery she creates for both life in Argentina and New York is impressive, and you really feel like you know the setting. Furthermore, Littman has created an exceedingly authentic voice in Dani, and should be applauded for that.
As for the characters, Dani is relatable in more ways than one. Her feelings of worry, and confusion and frustration are illustrated wonderfully. The secondary characters are also very authentic and memorable in that they’re vocal in their differences. I have a soft spot for Dani’s little sister, Sarita.
As for plot, Life, After was relatively slow in that respect. The big move to New York didn’t actually happen till about a quarter to halfway through the book, however I got a good impression of what Argentina must’ve been like for Dani. Despite this, I still had times where I wanted it to speed up a bit.
Overall, ‘Life, After’ is a gentle soul of a book that shows the effects of terrorism on families and the difficulties that many face through it.
Publication Date: January 2012
Quote: “Because with joy, we overcome the terror. With love, strength, and hope, we prevail.”