Where we go when we die is a fascinating thing to study. People love to debate about it, and the most popular view out in the west is the whole “heaven and hell” scenario. It’s straightforward enough. If you’re good you go to heaven, if you’re bad you go to hell.


Gina Ranalli creates a unique hell for her characters in “Suicide Girls in the Afterlife”. In this book, the central character Pogue is sent to hell for suicide. She’s joined by another girl, Katina, who died of an accidental drug overdose.


The two recruit some other friends, including the devil himself, and go on an adventure through the underworld dodging obstacles such as a monster made of feces and men attempting to behead each other. Eventually they meet Jesus, who turns out to be the pinnacle of every hippie/stoner stereotype you could imagine. I won’t give away the ending, but it’s not a happy one. No one has a good day in hell, and Ranalli assembles a dark place for our characters to struggle.


What I enjoyed the most about this read was how judgement is cast on our characters. When they first arrive to hell, they are guided by spirits to their appointed punishments for their sins. The character that died accidentally, Katina, pleads with her guide that she got in by accident. The guide’s reply tickled me because of its truth:


“Honey,” the woman says to Katina. “There are no accidents. Almost every-damn-body is a suicide when you get right down to it. Those are just the rules. You smoke and die of lung cancer? The big boy upstairs says suicide. You eat at McDonalds every damn day of your life and your heart turns into a little ball of cement? Suicide. You get drunk and drive into a tree or turn your liver into jelly? Suicide. Don’t matter how long or short it takes people. Fact is, most people kill themselves and it’s no use arguing about it. Like I said, those are the rules.”


I loved that because we all do things like that. In the west, we view suicide as a terrible thing to do culturally. But think about it…we eat poorly, we smoke, we drink, we don’t exercise enough. It’s well known that living like that will kill you. So we could argue that we were good to others when we die, but we’re all guilty of some vices that could be viewed as expediting our own death.


This is a quick read, about one hundred pages. I liked it, I think you will too. Click the link below to check it out!




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Ando Ehlers | 
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