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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Book Review: Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch


SYNOPSIS: Jillian Westfield has the perfect suburban life straight out of the upscale women's magazines that she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple, and the elaborate Easter egg hunts seen in Parents. With her successful investment banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines’ glossy Range Rover ads.

Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can’t seem to fix her faltering marriage, banish the tedium of days spent changing diapers, or stop her from asking, “What if?”

Then one morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. Before her daughter was born. Before she married Henry. Suddenly she’s back in her post–grad school Ikea-furnished Manhattan apartment. She’s back in her fast-paced job with the advertising agency. And she’s still with Jackson, the ex-boyfriend and star of her what-if fantasies.

Armed with twenty-twenty hindsight, she’s free to choose all over again. She can use the zippy ad campaigns from her future to wow the clients and bosses in her present. She can reconnect with the mother who abandoned her so many years before. She can fix the fights at every juncture that doomed her relationship with Jackson. Or can she?

With each new choice setting off a trajectory of unforeseen consequences, Jillian soon realizes that getting to happily ever after is more complicated than changing the lines in her part of the script. Happiness, it turns out, isn’t an either-or proposition. As she closes in on all the things she thought she wanted, Jillian must confront the greatest what-if of all: What if the problem was never Henry or Jackson, but her?

Sharp, funny, and heartwarming, Time of My Life will appeal to anyone who has ever wanted to redo the past and will leave readers pondering, “Do we get the reality we deserve?”

REVIEW: What would you do if you could go back in time and alter the course of your life? In Time of My Life, Jillian Westfield is mysteriously plucked out of her seemingly perfect life and transplanted seven years back into her past. Jillian quickly realizes she has been given the opportunity to sidestep all her former mistakes and change the course of her life forever. But how much of her future does she really want to change?

Allison Winn Scotch has created an unforgettable cast of characters in this fast moving, deceptively light yet incredibly rich novel. One of my favorite aspects was the way Jillian seemed to gain a new understanding for the people around her. As she began to renew her relationship with her mother, and get reacquainted with friends and former co-workers, she began to see them in a more compassionate and open minded manner. One particular relationship I found to be the most touching was the one with Jillian's friend Meg (who was supposed to die in a car accident).

Time of My Life is an interesting look at fate and how one single choice can lead to a completely different set of outcomes. It's about the importance of communication, compromise and expectations. The possibilities for change are endless, but not without repercussions of their own. And that was the most intriguing component of this novel for me. How even the smallest alteration in the past can cause a massive ripple effect into the future, forever changing the course of so many lives in its wake.

Quite simply, I could not put this book down. I had to know where Jillian's story was going to take her next. Should she start her life over with Jack? But what about Katie whose face she saw in every child on the street? These questions, along with so many others, kept me eagerly flipping pages and guessing the whole time. In the end, Jillian discovered what she needed most wasn't to change everyone around her, but to instead look inside her own heart and be honest with what she really wanted out of life and then go after it with gusto. Watching Jillian try and find a happier and more fulfilling life profoundly affected me. Days after finishing it, I still can't stop thinking about it. This was a stunning read.

Hardcover: 304 Pages
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books; 1 edition (October 7, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307408574
ISBN-13: 978-0307408570

Allison Winn Scotch is the author of the novels, Time of My Life (Random House/Shaye Areheart, October 2008) and The Department of Lost and Found (HarperCollins/Morrow, May 2007). She is also a frequent contributor to numerous national magazines including Parents, Woman's Day, Women's Health, Redbook, Self and American Way.

Visit Allison at her Official Website & Blog


kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I read this book and loved it too! It had a lot more depth than I expected... glad you loved it! :D

Kate said...

This sounds like an emotional book. I think it sounds really good. Awesome review!

brizmus said...

This book sounds amazing and emotional - one I will have to read at home because of all the crying I am sure to be doing.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Thanks for your review. This sounds like a wonderful book!

Juju from Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review. I love books that still have me thinking days and days later.

Leslie said...

aww adding it to my tbr list now =)

Lenore said...

I totally agree! Meg's was my fave subplot too.