Touching & Imaginative Journey to Find Peace Beyond Suffering

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After Here by Dave Wolffe

What’s it About?

The journey of Joe Golden after a fatal car accident takes him to heaven. Joe passes through the seasons of the year on his mission to find his beloved wife who had passed away one year prior to his death.

Not sure whether there is an afterlife? You’re not alone. In fact, if you google the question, you will find 16.8 million entries, all with opinions, theories and images of what the afterlife looks like.

In the world of the arts, there are plenty of depictions of what comes next — think Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, or “Field of Dreams,” the macabre The Lovely Bones, or even Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, to name a few.

And what do they all have in common? They all “humanize” the image of death. A man reacquainting with five significant people in his life, a little girl looking down to help find her murderer, a stingy old curmudgeon seeing what awaits him.

The only thing “dead” about them is that they are. I mean, they still look human, sound human and think human, as far as literary license will allow. Unless you are talking about fantasy or sci-fi (and sometimes even then), it’s difficult, naturally, to paint a picture of the afterlife beyond anything we already know.

Longtime educator and author Dave Wolffe takes a stab at it — with purpose. In his story After Here, Wolffe, like his predecessors, envisions “the next phase” in human terms. In fact, with a little imagination, or memory lapse, on the part of readers, it would be easy to forget that the lush, peaceful and beautiful setting for this touching tale is Heaven — and not, say, Vermont, or Tuscany.

Yet beyond the story, the setting and the people, After Here was written as an anthem to the survivors of lost loved ones, providing deep comfort and encouragement to help adult readers find peace beyond their suffering.

Journey Through the Seasons of Life

The book tells the story of Joe Golden — dare we say an ordinary Joe — who is killed in a car accident and transported to Heaven, where he tries to get the lay of the land and make sense of his new existence. There is no fear or panic in his steps. When he recognizes his deceased dog, Barney, who is excited to see him again, he hopes the canine will guide him through one of the four “seasons” — paths to begin his journey.

Joe stumbles into people he does not know (victims of the World Trade Center tragedy), people he knew of (John Denver giving a free concert) and people he did know well (some family members and his old college pal, Pete). But Joe has one singular path in mind — the one that will reunite him with Arlyne, his wife who passed away a short time before Joe. It is this obsession that guides him.

The book is filled with the kind of questions and wonder one would expect in such a situation: What will it be like to see her again? What will we say? What will we do? How do we navigate what lies ahead in this new stage? Readers yearn for the reunion.

But the author interjects an unusual device. Just as Joe had to choose one of four roads at the beginning of his journey, readers have to choose one of three endings for how Joe’s story turns out. Just like life has us constantly weighing options and making decisions, After Here doesn’t let us off the hook.

For a quick, feel-good story that is enjoyable to read and might even help us through some difficult times, pick up After Here — whatever your beliefs may be about an afterlife.


About Dave Wolffe:

For over 30 years, Dave Wolffe was an educator and guidance counselor in the New York City public school system. He is the author of Peace: The Other Side of Anger, which is used in an anger management program he developed for and alongside teens, and Settling the Unsettling: Understanding and Resolving Conflict, which he wrote for college students. He also served as an adjunct lecturer on conflict resolution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He currently resides in Connecticut.

After Here by Dave Wolffe

Publish Date: 1/24/2023

Genre: Fiction

Author: Dave Wolffe

Page Count: 40 pages

Publisher: Palmetto Publishing

ISBN: 9798822906761

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