Bloomington High School North Library

Bloomington High School North

This is the life : a novel

Review by Jenna Dedek on May 13, 2016

Categories: Fiction

Two brothers reunite after years of disconnect when it is discovered that the older brother, Louis, has a brain tumor. The siblings have had a rocky relationship throughout their lives, and neither was expecting that they would be rekindling their brotherhood under such circumstances as terminal cancer. But, the men discover that family is greater than small feuds; together, they learn on this journey that it doesn’t matter how big or small an issue is because in the end, it is still a problem that needs to be addressed. And it is always easier to solve problems when you have someone by your side supporting you till the end.
This is the Life, a novel by Alex Shearer, is a hilarious yet touching recount of two brother’s final moments together. Shearer does a spectacular job at making a topic that can be seen as merely depressing into something that is immensely entertaining. He craftily incorporates the use of flashbacks to give the reader insight into the two main characters’ lives and true personalities. Along with these two difficult to execute tasks, Shearer keeps the protagonist’s, the younger brother’s, name a mystery throughout the story. This can sometimes be confusing for readers, but Shearer accomplishes the task well; in this way he creates a sense of relation to the younger brother, making his uncommon situation seem like an everyday concern.
This book is a challenging, but highly entertaining, read. It would make a great choice for anyone who is a high school student or older since it is easy to stay interested and it is nothing like those typical fairy tales from childhood. This tragic story of reconnecting with an estranged family member is very original; combined with the humor suited for intelligent citizens, this book will keep the readers hooked from page one. Plus, for those who loved John Green’s hit novel, The Fault in Our Stars, this book would be a perfect fit due to their similar topics and themes of both love and coming to terms with death.