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An Oldie but Goodie: Replay

Replay by Ken Grimwood is a definite oldie but goodie. (The cover art above, which is a bit eerie, is from the 1998 version.)

Goodreads description:

In 1988 43-year-old Jeff Winston died of a heart attack. But then he awoke, and it was 1963; Jeff was 18 all over again, his memory of the next two decades intact.

This time around Jeff would gain all the power and wealth he never had before. This time around he’d know how to do it right . . . until next time.

Imagine having the chance to live your life over again. Going back in time to when you were young and getting the opportunity to set things right. To change the path of your life so that you wouldn’t end up middle-aged in a marriage holding on by a thread. One that ends with you dying of a heart attack at your office while listening to your wife droning on.

Imagine having the chance to earn more money than you ever could have dreamed about. But also imagine all the good that you could do if you just had the chance to replay it.

***

Replay by Ken Grimwood is one of those books that you will want to read a few times. It was originally released in 1988 but was reprinted in 1998 and has in the past year been made available as an eBook.

It is the story of a man who has lived a life that would be considered pretty standard by most folks: job, wife, dreams unfulfilled. But when he dies of a heart attack and wakes up a young man in college, he is given the opportunity to change that dreary future and realize the dreams he never did the first time around.

Replay is not just a reverse Big or 13 Going on 30. And Jeff Winston doesn’t just go back once. No matter what course he sets for himself, when he turns 43, in any lifetime, it’s over for him. No matter where he is, no matter what he’s doing, and no matter how healthy, that’s it. He dies.

And comes back. Again. And again. But each time is just a little bit shorter. And after a few lifetimes, things start to get a bit hopeless. How many loves can he lose, how many lifetimes of living become too much?

But when during one of his many replay’s Star Wars is not released, Jeff knows there is another out there like him who may have the answers on why this is happening and how to stop it.

Replay is not a young adult story, and it is not a current one, but with the elements of time travel, love and loss, it is a story that can still entertain people of many ages. Even if some of the references are out-of-date as the story takes place between 1963 and 1988, the ideas are still timely.

Who hasn’t thought of going back in time? Being able to earn your fortune because you know what will happen in the stock market or the results of major sporting events. Imagine being able to take the road not taken the first time around.

This story is happy, sad, fascinating, magical and everything in between. I read the book so many times that the pages started to fall out – and I never bend back covers on a paperback, so am glad this is finally an eBook which can withstand a multitude of re-reads.

Sad note: Author Ken Grimwood was writing a sequel to Replay in 2003, which has not been released, when he unfortunately passed away. But maybe, just maybe, he is living his own replay.

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