First, I loved this book. I’m unsure if I loved the book because it really was that good or because I’m just in a place in my life where it really spoke to me. I’m inclined to think the former, but I’ll tell you more about that later.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me give you a quick thumbnail sketch of the book.
In Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch, Jillian is unhappy in her marriage to Henry. They’ve been married for about five years (forgive my memory if I’m off by a year or two), have an eighteen-month-old daughter, Katie, live in a lovely house, and have gone from “ravag[ing] each other like wild beasts” to quietly drifting apart. When Jillian’s friend tells her that Jillian’s old boyfriend, Jackson, is getting married, she regrets her choice to marry Henry and wishes she had it to do all over again.
Jillian gets her wish to CTRL-Z her life and goes back seven years to when she was dating Jackson. She knows how her life ends up, and if she plays things a little differently, she can have what she thinks she really wants.
This is what I liked about the book: it’s not only about second-guessing your choice about who to marry. It’s about wishing you could have done things differently with a particular friend; wondering if you should have contacted an estranged parent instead of rejecting their overtures. This past weekend had an UNDO UNDO moment that will haunt me for a long time, and who DOESN’T have those experiences? Those experiences where it’s not even your fault, you just wish you could change things so you don’t have to see your friend in quite so much pain.
Allison Winn Scotch captured so many feelings I’ve had about marriage. Here’s a scene where Jillian is talking about how Henry proposed and how she felt right afterward:
The flight attendant brought us champagne, and I raised the armrest between our seats and tucked myself so close to him that not even a sliver of space divided us, and I was, for a moment at least, so soaked in contentedness that I could have pocketed up that feeling and coasted on it for years to come.
Even now, when I snuggle with Dave at night, it’s often that there’s “not even a sliver of space divid[ing] us.” I’m just so happy to be with him that I want to be as close to him as possible, and Dave’s like, COULD YOU GET ANY CLOSER? I’d like to, but it’s not possible!
And while I’m still ridiculously happy with my husband, this is what I fear:
In real life, most marriages don’t come undone with one big explosion. Unlike in the movies, most wives don’t stumble upon lipstick on a collar or discover a hotel receipt in a blazer pocket. Most wives don’t uncover hidden gambling problems or latent addictions or experience out-of-nowhere abuse that pops up one day and destroys everything. Some do, but most, no, not most. Most marriages unravel slowly, slipping drop by drop, like water ebbing through a curled palm, until one day, you look down and notice that it, your hand, is entirely empty. That’s how most marriages dissolve and run dry. And, in retrospect, it’s how mine came undone exactly.
Also? The author’s writing was very contemporary without being I’m-trying-to-be-very-relevant-can’t-you-tell. Instead, I was like, Dude, I would totally be friends with her. That’s how her writing made me feel. Allison, can we be friends? Don’t answer right away. Think about it.
Jillian evolved naturally and effortlessly. Sometimes she would realize something but shove it aside, ignoring it because, while it was true, it didn’t fit what she wanted right then.
So I pretty much loved everything about this book. I thought the character development was well done, I loved the writing, I loved the message, and I loved that *I*, a self-professed I-DON’T-READ-CHICK-LIT girl, loved it. I think a good test of a really good book is whether those who don’t normally read the genre like it. So hats off to Time of My Life.
I would recommend this book to any book club but mine. I think there are SO MANY things to discuss that the conversation could go on for hours. The reason I won’t be recommending it to mine (though I will bring it to my next meeting and tell people to read it!) is because I don’t have a filter between what I think and what I say, and I would end up revealing very personal feelings which I tend to prefer to keep to myself. So assuming you have a better filter than I do (that is, you don’t feel the need to say anything and everything that comes into your head), I would recommend it for your bookclub (yes, yours!). And it’s out in paperback, so no one can complain about having to buy a hardcover.
Rating: 95 out of 100
You should also check out Allison Winn Scotch’s lurvely blog.
Also, I like to follow the Allison Winn Scotch on Twitter. You should too. 🙂