I wanted to like The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. And I did. Sorta. For about two thirds of it. Then things went down hill quickly and never recovered. It had an interesting premise but it was left unfulfilled and Lydia is kinda the worst. Ugh. Let me explain.
I’m trapped inside for the foreseeable future, like many people, which means LOTS of time to read. And watch Brad Pitt movies. But mostly read.
So I comb shelves, looking for books to uplift and distract me in equal measures. I need drama and love and happily ever afters. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird seems to fit the bill and as an added bonus, I’m a fan of Silver’s first book. I make my purchase, confident in my decision.
But alas. I was not happy with Lydia Bird. I can forgive the book for not really following the blurb. That’s allowed. As long as it doesn’t follow said blurb because it offers something bigger/better. That was not the case. Let me share:
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade and Lydia thought their love was indestructible. But she was wrong. On Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.
So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants is to hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life—and perhaps even love—again.
But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.
Lydia is pulled again and again through the doorway to her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.Back of book according to barns and noble website
Sounds interesting right? I certainly thought so. This was serving me P.S. I Love You vibes and I was along for the ride. But it didn’t deliver.
The first 100ish pages, sure. I felt terrible for Lydia that Freddie had died and they wouldn’t be together. I didn’t blame her for not sleeping well, eating hardly anything, and laying on the floor for hours. Didn’t even blame her for wanting time with Freddie, for being lured in by the little pink pills. And I don’t love it but I can understand why she’s being kinda rude to her family. Grief is rough.
But I do blame her for the rest of it. Being an absolute (redacted) to her OG best friend and Freddie’s best man Jonah. And I blame her for what happens around two thirds of the way through the book.
SPOILER. She helps Elle, her sister and kind/gentle soul, deliver a baby in her house because it’s coming faster then the ambulance can. Good. Then Elle’s husband comes in and Lydia takes one look at the family and loses it. Which is ok, that wouldn’t be easy to see.
What isn’t ok is her response. She gets on a plane to literally the first place she can find without a visa, not telling her mom or sister and abandoning the job she had just gotten back to, then she ignores everyone when they reach out to be like where you at. The only person who she talks to is Jonah, every night, and that relationship feels about as real as 2D DoodleBob.
She also decides to take more pills. And what she finds is, in the parallel universe, her sister lost the baby and turns out Freddie is kinda a jerk and puts work above her.
Then Lydia Bird goes back, is resentful of not being welcomed profusely by the family she abandoned and being rude to the girl who replaced her at work when she disappeared for MONTHS.
So she takes one last pill, says goodbye to dream Freddie, and flushes them. She decides she’s going to get it together now, life is a mess and she wants to change it. A fair amount of it is her fault but whatever. Then Jonah returns from a trip and is like I may or may not have been in love with you since we were kids. And she’s like swag, love you too.
Which is THE WORST. Why did Freddie have to be a jerk? Couldn’t she just have moved on in a healthier way? Couldn’t she have not been a total jerk to everyone who cared about her? And then it’s like oh yeah, we’re kissing now. Jonah and I are in love. Since when? When you were being a giant jerk?
If you’ve made it this far down the page, you have probably guessed I do not recommend The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. In fact, I’d recommend a ton of other books first. The Flatshare. The Hating Game. The Unhoneymooners.