'No Dress Rehearsal' is a short story by Irish author Marian Keyes. The book is part of the 'Open Door' series; short stories by various Irish authors, which attempt to introduce adults who have trouble with, or don't enjoy reading, to short, non-intimidating pieces of literature. Other writers who have contributed to the series are Roddy Doyle, Patricia Scanlan, and Maeve Binchy.
Keyes' story is about Lizzie, a woman in her early 30s who has just been involved in a road traffic accident, and died. However Lizzie isn't aware of her death and thinks she's just had a miraculously lucky escape. The reality of the situation finally hits home when her boyfriend and colleagues are ignoring her, and she receives a visit from the other-worldly Jim and Jan.
We also read about Lizzie's best friend Sinead who works long hours for little reward, with her gregarious (and slightly dodgy) boss Ginger Moran. Sinead is at Ginger's beck and call 24 hours a day and has little time to live her own life, and so after her friend's death, she learns a valuable lesson about making the most of her existence.
At 79 pages long, and quite a large font, this really is a very short story and fans of Marian Keyes might be a little disappointed that by the time they get stuck into the book, it's already over. However I think it's a great idea for adults with literacy problems; the story is simply written and easy to understand; there's a little bit of gentle humour, and despite the subject of death, it manages to avoid being depressing and is instead quite heartening.
The book cover is a bit dull, with large blocks of blacks and brown and a ghostly image of a face. Perhaps something a bit brighter would make the book more appealing. It's currently available to buy on www.amazon.co.uk for £4.26 which I think is a bit expensive for such little material. More information about the 'Open Doors' series can be found at www.literacytrust.org.uk.
Lizzie hasn't realised that she's dead yet. She can't understand why everyone is ignoring her when all she wants is a little sympathy? She has been in an accident, after all. Next day at work, she meets two spirits who've been sent to break the news.