Ray in Reverse

ISBN: 0142000094
ISBN 13: 9780142000090
By: Daniel Wallace

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Can T Seem To Finish Currently Reading Daniel Wallace Didn T Finish Fantasy Favorites Fiction Sale Box To Read Underhyped Books

About this book

Sitting in the Last Words support group in Heaven, Ray Williams ruminates on his short life of 50 years, his episodes of infidelity, his premature marriage proposal, his sexual confusion, the dog he accidentally killed, and the baby he unwittingly saved.

Reader's Thoughts


Enjoyable and quick read, only a touch of the typical Daniel Wallace absurdism. Not as fantastic as Big Fish, but enjoyable!

Cris Anne Perez

I picked this book on a random library sale. I haven't read The Big Fish yet so I didn't have any expectations when I started reading this but based on the description on the cover, I thought this will be something heart-felt but I was dead wrong.The book is witty and is refreshing. It's been a while since I've read a narrative feeling nothing but entertained. The story is often humorous and delightful. Each of the chapters are stories of their own, mirroring the day-to-day encounters of a man's life. An easy read: nothing too deep but realistic, nevertheless. The dialogues were written excellently, giving life and character to the people speaking. The reason for the two "un-star" is that I wasn't moved by the story. I was entertained but I was not excited for the next page and next chapters. Back to heaven, in the end, I am quite unsatisfied with what he wished for. I am itching for something more or maybe something deeper.


It was interesting to read a book that was written backwards. I don't think the story line was that great, but I enjoyed reading a book in a different way.


I like the writer and the style of telling the story was unique. I just didn't like any of the characters much.


I love Daniel Wallace's writing and some of his sentences are truly wonderful. But I like some of his other work much more than I did this book. Even as it intended to be told in backward episodes (beginning with Ray in a very curious vision of heaven) it was a little too disjointed for me. I did like the ending and the way it helped knit some of the pieces together.

Krissy Obermark

I guess my hope was for . . . more . . . from this book. There really weren't any characters to sympathize with or relate to. The first chapter was the best and then it all seemed to slide downhill from there. Disappointing, really.

Anders Ringdahl-mayland

Daniel Wallace is very gifted at writing sentimental works. A challenge though, in making this approach effective, is maintaining the story's emotional appeal evenly throughout. While each chapter presented an interesting anecdotal foray into some aspect of the title character's life, the author would have done well to omit the one or two chapters that did little to expand on the reader's understanding of Ray's perspective and personality.I have read three of Daniel Wallace's books, and enjoyed each for different reasons, but have found that his strengths as an author seem to amplify his greatest shortcoming as a storyteller. He is tremendously talented at constructing an enjoyable, quirky narrative that incorporates aspects of the surreal or paranormal - but struggles to leave the reader with a satisfactory conclusion.


It started off a lot better than where it is now. I thought I was reading a different story.


you start out not liking the guy, think, "ok, we're going backwards here... maybe I'll learn something to make me like him a little more, and then you wait. and wait. and turns out theres nothing to like. just a man and his button collection.

Kristina Jo

I bought this at a library resale because the idea of going backwards intrigued me. Unfortunately, I think this is a cooler idea in theory than in practice. I always felt like there was some kind of back-story that I wasn't getting, some history I wasn't understanding about the characters. Maybe it was intentional, maybe it was just impractical to include the back-story when we might get the back-story as we go, y'know... backwards. In general, I spent the time I was reading this book feeling irritated. I didn't especially like Ray, either, which just made it the whole thing harder to get through. I think Wallace was trying to say something with what Ray wished for as opposed to what he could have wished for, but it took so long to get to that point that I was too busy counting down the pages to really get the message.


Not one of the more exciting books ive read (not that it was meant to be).


Interesting book -- glad I read it but not the best thing I've ever read either. I enjoyed the part of the book when he was younger the best.

Theresa Maher

Disappointing. Wallace's storytelling ability supercedes many, but this time he failed to connect the central character to the reader. I understand that Ray is the average nobody, but he is just too much of a nobody for me to care about. A neat premise, but a missed attempt.


In this book, absolutely nothing happens, which is kind of the point. Ray is dead, and in his afterlife support group he ends up reliving his entire life in order to determine the meaning of his last words ("I wish..."). Overall, it's an interesting read despite the gimmicky writing style.


Great idea, didn't pan out so well, other books by Daniel Wallace are much better.

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