In Another Life

Cardeno C
In Another Life
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Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
December 2014

At age 18, Shiloh Raben is tired. He no longer has the energy to deal with mean classmates, inner doubt, and fear of familial rejection, so he takes a razor to his wrist. When he wakes up in the hospital, Shiloh meets Travis Kahn, the EMT who saved him and didn't leave his side.

Travis is handsome, smart, and funny—the type of guy Shiloh would never be brave enough to approach. But his near-death experience has an unusual side effect: the life that flashed before his eyes wasn't the one he had already lived, but rather the one he could live. With visions of a future by Travis's side, will Shiloh find the strength to confront his fears and build a life worth fighting for?

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Dec 22, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
148 people found the following review helpful
When a gay Jewish teen slits his wrists, instead of his unhappy past life flashing before him, he gets a glimpse of his potentially happy future. Now, can he hang on to life and make this positive future come true? Cardeno C. answers that question with a large dollop of humor and poignancy, making this a nearly perfect holiday treat.

We meet eighteen-year-old Shiloh Raben at the very lowest point in his life. His life blood is slipping away, and Shiloh sees himself as a 36-year-old guidance counselor, helping teens much like himself who are miserable and have nowhere to turn.

At a school dance he runs into Dr. Travis Kahn, and they immediately click. Within days they know they are meant to be together, and they learn all about each other's life. Both finally feel happy and fulfilled, as if life is worth living.

But Shiloh isn't really living his future life. In fact, until he's resuscitated by young EMT Travis Kahn, he didn't believe he had a future. Now all he has to do is convince Travis they belong together, which may be even more difficult than believing there was no future.

While the subject of suicide may seem pretty grim for the holiday season, Cardeno C. lards it with scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny. For example, when Shiloh's father learns his son is gay, he sits the boy down to have a "birds and the bees" talk with him, but then bumbles around saying that maybe it might be a "birds and the birds" talk. And finally wonders why birds and bees are included in the subject of sex anyway.

My only quibble with the story is Shiloh himself. Despite having an incredibly supportive family, he has decided to take his life without talking to them and telling them about his problems at school. If things are as bad as he thinks at school, he doesn't seem to be the kind of teen to internalize to the point of death. His mother, if no one else, should have recognized that her son was troubled and talked to him. Even his well-meaning, but muddled father would have seen that all was not right.

So for someone as loved as Shiloh to attempt suicide seems out of character without the family first getting involved in his problems.

Other than that oddity, the story is one that backs into the holiday spirit and will entertain those who like to read uplifting tales of joy.
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