Book Reviews

Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August


Synopsis (Goodreads):

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.


Finished reading this book four days ago and I needed these four days to collect my thoughts and gather myself after the emotional and the exciting roller coaster that this book put me through. What an amazing journey!

Getting into this book, I was little bit anxious and skeptical because I honestly had no idea what this book is actually about. I didn’t hear a lot of people talking about it and I didn’t want to do any research on it because I didn’t want to ruin the book for me when there is actually a chance that I might end up liking it, and thank god that I didn’t because the book was phenomenal and extraordinary and it’s one of the best books I read this year. Don’t get me wrong, I did read an abundance of good books this year, but, I noticed that they follow the same theme and it can get slightly repetitive, however, this book was different and it wasn’t like anything I read before. Honest.

The book talks about Harry August, a man who have the ability to relive his life over and over again without knowing the reason why he can do it or what is the purpose of it. Through out the book he tried to understand the reason. Now, the first part of the story was solid and on the slower pace but it was the good kind of slow pace because it allowed me to get to know Harry August (more about it later). The book is filled with historical information as Harry himself lived through a lot of tragic events like stopping both World Wars, the Vietnam War and so on. I enjoyed learning and reading all information as I am very fond of history and I will grasp any chance to enhance and refresh my knowledge on history.

One of the most clever things about this book is that it’s about time traveling, which something I don’t like a lot in books. However, in this book it was done very cleverly because the person himself didn’t travel through time as he lives the same life over and over again, but what traveled are his emotions and memories from his previous lives. With every time he is being reborn, he would change and tweak his character a little bit and that was very clever and interesting because even though you read about the same person living his life over and over again, yet you are not reading about the exact same person. Very brilliant.

The book have a secret society that I don’t want to talk about much because it’s an important part of the book, but that society is just so thrilling and reading about them is exciting and gripping. But, Harry is on the mission to stop the world from ending (This is not a spoiler because this is mentioned in the first page of the book), and he have to find out who is causing the world to end.

Now, coming back to the pace of the book. As I mentioned earlier, the book is on the slower pace but as I read, the speed of the events alternate because one chapter will make you feel as if your sitting in a race car, driving with the speed of a bullet, and then the other one would feel as if someone suddenly hit the breaks. I enjoyed that. It was a very refreshing writing style in my opinion.

The writing was phenomenal and out of this world. I enjoyed reading this book word by word. I read it slowly and I took my time with it, which made the experience even more enjoyable. I highly recommend this book to everyone. If you are the kind of person who is not used to such stories or such writing pace, then just be patient with the book and take your time with it and enjoy the historical aspect of the book because in my opinion it worth it.

I think that the book is a great way to reflect how boring can it be living in our time because Harry get to live his life over and over again, so he see and experience the same things over and over again just liked in our time. We are for sure are not living our lives over and over again, but people are becoming the same, their lives are becoming the same, they copy each other and everything, so it feels as if we are actually living our boring lives over and over again through out the boring lives of others. There nothing new anymore and nothing original. Life is becoming repetitive.

In addition, the book raised a lot of questions in my head. What if I were to relive my life over and over again? Will I change history? Will I try to stop the first and second World Wars? Can I stop them? Will I stop the assassination of JFK? What will happen if some could actually go back in time, will they be successful? Will I choose to love the same person over and over again? These are some of the questions that might come to my mind while reading the book.

I highly enjoyed reading this book with it different kind of story. Great book, amazing characters and brilliant plot. Worth reading and worth investing your time in. Clare North is diffidently is on my radar now, and I am looking forward to read more of her books in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.


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