Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review: Time of My Life

Summary: Jillian Westfield has a life straight out of the women’s magazines she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, and the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple. With her investment-banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines’ Range Rover ads.

Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can’t seem to fix her faltering marriage or stop her from asking "What if?" Then one morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. She’s back in her Manhattan apartment. She’s back in her fast-paced job. 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 reconnect to the mother who abandoned her, she can use ad campaigns from her future to wow her clients, and she can fix the fights that doomed her relationship with Jackson.

Or can she? -- Three Rivers Press

Can I just tell you how much I love Allison Winn Scotch? I enjoyed THE ONE THAT I WANT (my review) so much that I had to pretty much drop everything and read TIME OF MY LIFE. Forget about my prior commitments, I just wanted to read a book because I wanted to read it! And I'm so glad I did because I think I enjoyed TIME OF MY LIFE even more that THE ONE THAT I WANT!

TIME OF MY LIFE is the story of Jill, a young mother who on the outside has it all -- a beautiful daughter and a successful husband. However, Jill begins to question her life and especially her marriage; and she even starts to wonder "what if?" Well there is definitely some truth to the saying, "Be careful what you wish for" because Jill finds herself thrown back in time. A time when she was living in New York City with her ex-boyfriend and working as at an advertising agency. A time when there was no husband and no baby. Jill was suddenly given the opportunity to make all new choices in her life, and she now had the added gift of hindsight.

I thought the premise of this novel was just terrific! I loved the idea of a woman who seemingly has it all, yet finds that she isn't totally happy. When Jill is thrown back in time, she has the opportunity to learn a great deal about the people in her life as well as her choices. Who hasn't yearned for that chance to hit a re-do button at some point in our lives -- am I right? What I was really looking forward to was seeing how Jill operated given this "second chance."

As was the case in THE ONE THAT I WANT, there was a little bit of magic in this novel -- Jill kind of traveled back in time seven years after having a really intense massage. Yet I felt that the supernatural elements were done extremely well, and I thought they were a very effective way to have Jill assess her life -- both her past and her present one.

I love it when a book really resonates with me, and there were huge parts of this book where I found myself nodding and in total agreement. I didn't find that I related so much to Jill's issues with her husband; however, I totally understood her feelings as a mother. In fact, I had quite a few things in common with the main character. Like Jill, I quit my job and moved away from the city (except I ended up moving to the very rural Central Pennsylvania instead of outside New York City.) And like Jill, I just knew that I would be the perfect mother with the perfect child. (Oh how I can laugh at this one now!) I read magazine after magazine, spent countless hours decorating my home, and even planned my daughter's birthday parties months in advance. I have to admit some of Jill's character traits did resemble my own. By what really struck a chord with me were some of Jill's feelings about becoming a little lost around the same time she became a mother.

I don't want to go so far as to say that TIME OF MY LIFE was predictable because I don't think it was. But what I will say is that I really wanted the novel to end like it did, and I desperately wanted Jill to see the writing on the wall! While Jill had to take some pretty drastic measure to realize what's important in her life, ultimately she did come to terms with many of her life's decisions. And I absolutely loved the overall message about looking inside yourself to "fix" things. I have to say that I will never get tired of books that remind me that I need to keep a good perspective on what I do have!

Needless to say I would love to discuss TIME OF MY LIFE with some friends. This is no doubt that this novel will have staying power in my mind, and I know many other women will feel exactly the same way. I have a pretty strong suspicion that many of my closest friends will also relate to Jill, and I think it would be a very fun time to discuss some of our life choices with each other (especially if we pop open a bottle of wine or two...) There is a reading guide available which will definitely help to keep your conversation focused. Some of the themes you might want to discuss include mother/daughter relationships, female friendships, motherhood, perfectionism, marriage, doubts, insecurities, and self-discovery.

If you haven't read Allison Winn Scotch's books yet, then you are really missing out. TIME OF MY LIFE is just a wonderful book that really made me look at my life differently and remind me of how very lucky I am!

12 comments:

Aaron's Books in Lititz said...

Why do you torture me so with all these good books I don't have time to read??

Just Mom said...

I have that one sitting right here waiting to be read. I'll let you know what I think but I am more excited to read it now after this review!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds similar to the movie The Family Man which I loved! It sounds like Allison Winn Scotch is a must read author!

diaryofaneccentric said...

I really enjoyed this book, too. I was worried that it was going to be too fluffy, but it wasn't at all. I related to Jill feeling lost as a mother, too, and I think many people can related to her asking "what if?" Glad to see you really liked it. Now I can't wait to read The One That I Want!

Molly said...

Great review, Julie! This sounds like a book that I would truly enjoy.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It sounds very good, but really, how can you miss with the protagonist having a name like Jill?!!!

Lori said...

I loved this book, too! I won 10 copies of her new novel, The One That I Want, in a giveaway and I can't wait for them to arrive so I can devour it!

Kay said...

I read this one in 2008 and it was such a good book. I remember nodding my head too and I loved how the main character came to know herself so much better by the end. Sometimes, being a mom or a wife or a daughter seems like all there is to me and I have to remind myself that I am still me.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I think that is why I so loved "The Post-Birthday World" where we do get to see alternative endings to the "what if". I quit working because I was burnt out from the corporate life, and there isn't a day that goes by that I count my blessings. The kids and husband can drive me mad, but they are my reason for breathing. Books like this are a great reminder to be thankful for what we have!

Beth F said...

Oh boy. I'm so glad that I have a copy of this. I haven't read her before.

Amanda said...

I read this last year and enjoyed it, and I'm really hoping to get to read her newest!

pinkflipflops said...

hey i got the book that i won from your giveaway from her in the mail while i was gone! i'm excited to read it!