If I Had 15 Lives – A Book Review & More

This summer, I read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, a science fiction novel (heavy on the science) by Claire North, a pseudonym for British writer, Catherine Webb. It is about a man named Harry August who is born with the ability to be, well, reborn- again, and again, and again. He is always born into the same life, to the same adopted parents, same hard out circumstances, yet he remembers everything he ever learns (he is in fact a Mnemonic) in the other lives he leads. Whether it was which way to gamble, science discoveries of the future, or men who murder, he always remembered what happened in the past, even if the people in his multiple lives never discover this secret.

Harry August thrusts himself into many different life situations, never living the same one twice. He explores the physical world, finds different religions and spirituality, leads a life in academia, becomes a underground crime boss, and makes friends and enemies (frenemies if you allow) who are just like him- Ouroboran or Kalachkra. It turns out there are many like Harry, splattered among the history of the world. And each Kalachakra has the ability to change or destroy the world. But few possess the same Mnemonic trait. Some can choose to forget their last lives to start over with a clean slate, others just forget over time.

dajpysxlbjkjyjqrphgmIt is an enthralling read from start to finish. This story will lead you to thoughts you never had, while rooting for Mr. August to complete his self-proclaimed destiny. His story is painfully human where he must choose between doing the right thing for humanity, his scientific curiosity, and a strong bond between another Mnemonic Kalachkra. Join Harry on this journey as he travels through lives, sometimes with the help of the mysterious Chronos Club.

This book got me thinking, about more than just the story in front of me, about what I would do if I had the ability to live life over and over again, no matter how many times I died. What I would do with each of these lives? Of course, some of the lives I came up with were borderline superficial- knowing where to bet money and how to win, which companies to invest in, to earn so much money I could move to paradise, buy a boat, and never worry about a thing. But when I really started to think, I came up with some lives I wish I had the chance to live.

  1. In my first life, before I knew what I was, I would probably live the same life I lead now. Because I don’t have the plethora of knowledge I would come to learn once I live, die, and live again. Boring, I know, but it will get better!
  2. I would study my ass off at school and go to a high ranked college, major in science, become a doctor, and join Doctors without Borders, because I have this overwhelming need to help others (I just lack the proper skills to make a difference). I would want to be someone who changes lives.
  3. In my third life, I would travel the entire world. I would meet as many people as I possibly could, learn about different cultures, foods, religions, governments, ways of life (much like Harry who went everywhere trying to understand why he is the way he is, but with less emphasis on finding that answer and just learning). I would have the time to see the places lowest on my Travel Bucket List.
  4. Then, with the knowledge I obtain in my previous life, I would study again- but this time I would want to create ways to keep the world from all the damage we are causing. I would find ways to get water to burning California, alternative fuel sources, how to adjust to climate change, ways to farm without killing the beauty we already have surrounding us in places like the Amazon and Mexico’s pine forests. I would want to find as many ways to make this Earth healthy and whole again.
  5. Okay, after all that hard work I might want to take a little break- so I would give all this knowledge I learned to someone else, and they can save the world. I will make a little money, find a beach front cottage, hang up a hammock, and read every single day, with breaks to jump in the ocean.
  6. I have always wondered what the life of a movie starlet would be like. In my sixth life, I would work on becoming the “next big thing” and see what all the fuss is over being famous, plus I always thought it would be a lot of fun to be in a movie, be someone you are not just for a little while. But I wouldn’t want to be just famous, I would want to use my status for as much good as possible. Think Leo DiCaprio, Emma Watson, Angelina Jolie.
  7. I’d write a book. I don’t know about what, but it would be a bestseller and be a story people keep with themselves for their whole life.
  8. I would own my own business, something to do with food, clothes, or books, marry a wonderful and hot man, adopt a few dogs, live on a ranch with horses and pigs and chickens, and have two awesome kids, and not have one worry in the world.
  9. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, because let’s face it, if I remembered everything from all my other lives, I would lay some knowledge on this country and make good changes.
  10. Diplomat in France, Spain, or Italy. I would want to learn as many languages as possible and be involved with world issues.
  11. Race car driver. If my speeding tickets mean anything, I have always loved driving fast, a need for speed I guess. And I have always thought I would make a good race car driver. I can drive a stick shift, but I don’t have much knowledge on how cars work, so of course I would learn that. And my car would be the least impactful on the earth (because if you see life #4, I’d have the skills to do so). Or stunt driver!
  12. Secret Agent. I would be the most useful and sought after agent there ever was! The new James Bond, Jason Bourne, etc.
  13. Bee farmer, and I’d sell my own honey, then I would move into making jams and other spreads.
  14. Join the Peace Corp.
  15. Go to space.

I think ultimately, in this one life I get, I just want to be brave.

How would you live if you were reborn time and time again?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *