Eight Minutes by Lori Reisenbichler

Originally posted 2016-01-19 12:50:43.

I’ve always been drawn to the whole idea of reincarnation, so Eight Minutes instantly appealed to me. Reisenbichler’s novel starts out strong, but lost steam, and my attention, about halfway through.

While Shelly Buckner is busy pushing out a baby, her husband, Eric, is in a near-fatal car accident on his way to meet her at the hospital. As the title of the book divulges, he is clinically dead for a full eight minutes. The doctors bring him back, though, and the couple’s son, Toby, is born without complications.

Three years later, though, little Toby starts to majorly freak everyone out by announcing the arrival of an imaginary friend named John Robberson. The boy relates intricate details of fighter jets and the Vietnam war – way more details than a three-year old should readily be able to spout out. Shelly is beyond disturbed, and becomes even more so when her research reveals that this guy actually existed, and that he died on the day Toby was born. Eric is initially skeptical when Shelly relates all of this information, but as time goes on, he seems to know an uncanny amount of information about John Robberson, too. Regardless, he becomes openly hostile when Shelly pursues the subject, and he pulls away the more Shelly digs. With her marriage on the rocks and her son becoming creepier by the day, Shelly must decide if pursuing John Robberson is worth destroying her marriage and her child.

SPOILERS AHEAD. Sounds interesting enough, but Reisenbichler drops the ball when she muddies up the plot with Eric. It would have been enough for young Toby to be the reincarnated John Robberson, but instead I guess Johnny just hopped over into Eric during those vacated eight minutes. Why Toby knows all about this remains to be revealed. Or maybe it was revealed and I had zoned out by that point, which is a possibility. All Eight Minutes did was leave me craving a good book about reincarnation…is there one out there? Recommendations?

Previously Published on Danetrain.com on 8/8/2015