Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: "Time of My Life" by Allison Winn Scotch

I was first introduced to the books of Allison Winn Scotch through a combination of reading her blog, Ask Allison, and having had the opportunity to read her latest novel, The One That I Want (my review). I enjoyed Allison's writing style and I was intrigued by the premise of one of her previous novels, Time of My Life. One Book Depository order later, and I had it in my hot little hands. However, it suffered the same fate of so many of the intriguing novels in my possession; it languished in TBR purgatory (a.k.a. my overstuffed bookshelves) until I was "in the mood" to pick it up. After reading several review novels I was in the mood to read something not slated for immediate review, and Time of My Life caught my eye. I freed it from its spot on the bookshelf and 24 hours later I had finished devouring it.

Time of My Life tells the story of Jillian Westerfield, dedicated wife and mother, wasting away in the suburbs and wondering how her life had come to this. She adores her 18-month-old daughter and loves her husband, but their marriage has been growing stagnant of late, and that spark that they once felt has flickered and died. After hearing that her ex-boyfriend is getting married, and after receiving a particularly intense massage, Jillian wakes up to find out that she is no longer a wife and a mother, but has been sent back seven years in the past, to the time when she was still with her ex-boyfriend Jack, and had not yet met her husband Henry. Armed with the knowledge of what would happen in the next couple of years, Jillian is grateful for this opportunity to re-live her late twenties and quickly climbs the corporate ladder at her old job at the advertising agency where she worked until she got pregnant. She also works on strengthening her relationship with Jack before it crumbles the same way that it did in the past. But will Jillian find that she is happier in the past, or will she start longing for the present?

What a fascinating premise for a book! Who of us has never thought about what we would do differently if we could go into the past and change it? It's something that I try not to dwell on, because I think that everything happens for a reason and I'm content with how things are now, but I have wondered how my life would have been different had I not had my children so young, or if I had taken a different career path, or if I had had the opportunity to travel. I think that imagining how we could have done things differently is human nature, and Allison Winn Scotch examines this subject with a deft hand.

Is the ability to go back in our past and change things unrealistic? Yes. But was the book subject matter incredibly thought-provoking? Also yes. Well-written and engaging, I'm not surprised that Time of My Life was a New York Times bestseller. I highly recommend this book to both book clubs and fans of women's fiction.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Book clubs, mothers, fans of women's fiction
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge 2010

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