Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on May 28, 2013
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you could go back and do it all over again? If you have, then you’ll race through this book that does exactly that. Author (and singer/songwriter) Lori Carson’s The Original 1982 is way of rewriting a woman’s life after having an abortion (this is on page 3 and is all over Goodreads, so it’s not a spoiler). Because the lives of Lori the author and Lisa the protagonist parallel each other’s so much, there has been some confusion about Lisa vs. Lori. But here’s what I could find out: The book is fiction but the life of Lisa is pretty similar to Lori’s, so it could be autobiographical. It’s up to the reader to decide.
But back to the book. Addressed to the daughter she never had, Lisa constructs an entire life for her daughter and herself from the early days of pregnancy and on through high school. Steeped in the reality that not everything is always rosy, Lisa’s daughter endures the trials and tribulations that the average girl experiences (and then some). This was, perhaps, my favorite part about the story because when you’re rewriting your own life, you can make it anything you want it to be and Lisa opted to stay in the realm of the possible.
While the description of the book makes it seem as if there is a lot of flipping back and forth between the original 1982 and the real one, the book mostly takes place in the fictitious version of the story. There are times when Lisa punctuates a story with what happened in her real life to keep the reader grounded, but mostly it served to remind me that this girl never existed.
When I finished this book, I felt like I needed to go through a mourning period. I mourned the loss of Lisa’s fake life, but mostly I mourned the loss of her daughter (this isn’t some sort of veiled hint at what happened in the book; I mean that I mourned her loss because she was never real). Lisa crafted a life for her daughter that was so real and palpable that I rode the roller coaster of emotions right along with the both of them.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably never heard of Lori Carson. Turns out, she’s a musician, has a few albums, and her life in the book parallels her real life (even her made-up life is laced with truths). But when read the book, I recommend listening to some of her music first just so that you can get an idea of who she is. There are several references to her music and style of singing and it will help you get your bearings.
If you could go back and do something over,
what would it be?
Although her song was featured in the Kirsten Dunst movie Crazy/Beautiful, I’ve opted for the following video because you can never have too much My So Called Life in your day.