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Book Review – The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch

The One That I Want
by Allison Winn Scotch
288 pages
Published June 1, 2010
Women’s fiction

I was highly anticipating Allison Winn Scotch’s latest book, The One That I Want, because I absolutely adored her previous book, Time of My Life.

In The One That I Want, Tilly is 32-years-old and blithely happy. She’s a guidance counselor at a high school (which is perfect, since she absolutely loves prom), in love with her husband, Tyler, with whom she’s trying to have a baby, and living in her hometown. She comes across an old friend from junior high, Ashley, who’s a palm reader and gifts Tilly with “clarity”. Ashley seems to see something that Tilly doesn’t see, and insists this clarity is a gift that Tilly will eventually thank her for.

Instead of receiving a gift, Tilly starts seeing things before they happen, and what she sees she doesn’t like: her dad relapsing into alcoholism, her husband packing up a moving van, despite the fact they’ve both agreed that they’ll stay in this town indefinitely. At first Tilly tries to change these things that she sees, but she eventually realizes that she can’t change anything and she has to accept these things as they come. Tilly is so boxed in by what she thinks does and will make her happy, that these changes force her to reassess her life.

I initially found Tilly to be unlikable and annoying. Instead of trying to understand why her husband doesn’t want to live in this small town anymore, she tries to force him and guilt him into staying. She’s unable to see past her own desires and conceptions of the way things should be that she can’t see how the people around her really feel.

One of the things I love about Allison Winn Scotch is she brings up these universal questions: What if things were different? What if I hadn’t actually married this person, but instead married that person? What if my life doesn’t end up the way I imagine and hope and pray it does?

Allison Winn Scotch’s writing is just how I like it: fluid, effortless, with an undercurrent of humor. She makes writing look like something anyone could do, from her blog posts to her tweets to her novels. And yet I know from reading many many books that not everyone is as natural as she is.

If Tilly had been more likable, I would have liked The One That I Want more. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, because ultimately I did (like it), but I think some of the depth that I found in Time of My Life was lost in The One That I Want because Tilly was so self-involved. I expected Tilly to start out that way, but she showed no signs of changing until the book was well over half way through. I thought I might see small changes, small insights from the beginning and getting larger and more profound as the book progressed, but her bull headedness continued.

When Tilly finally did start changing, though, that’s when the book came together for me and I started really enjoying the story. Tilly has a revelation half way through that I loved:

…I wonder if being too satisfied with your life and becoming numb to it aren’t somehow intertwined. Like there isn’t something just as dangerous about playing it safe.

And another:

Because there are burdens that we bear together, and then there are burdens that we have to bear alone, but even those, the ones that we must forge ourselves, are easier to shoulder when we can sense the firm assuredness of our sister, of our friends, standing right beside us, holding us up in case we falter.

Like I said, I have some quibbles with the book, but they weren’t enough to make me not enjoy the book, and certainly not enough for me not to recommend this to you. I hope you pick this up, and if you do, let me know what you think!

If you do one thing today, make sure you follow Allison Winn Scotch on Twitter. If I could only follow one person on Twitter, she’d be it.

Also be sure to check out Allison’s blog; it’s fantastic.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour (yes, I begged to be on it). You can see the full tour schedule for Allison Winn Scotch’s tour here. Here’s the other tour hosts this week:

Tuesday, June 8th:  Write Meg!

Wednesday, June 9th:  Life in the Thumb

Thursday, June 10th:  The Brain Lair

Buy The One That I Want from Powell’s today!

| Tags: , , 19 comments »

19 Responses to “Book Review – The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch”

  1. Kay

    Trish, I totally understand your frustration with Tilly. I had some of the same feelings myself, although I think mine were tempered with horror that I might have some of her traits myself. I wrote in my review that the story hit a little close to home for me. I think that’s why the whole thing spoke to me so well. Like you, I love the questions that Allison ponders, the what ifs? Don’t get me wrong. I love my married life, love my husband madly and wouldn’t want to change a thing about that, but there have been some other aspects of my life that haven’t been as satisfying. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always love to hear what you think about things. 🙂

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  2. Denise@TogetherWeSave

    Sounds like a really good read!

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  3. zibilee

    I have not read anything by this author, but I must admit to being very curious about both books mentioned in this review. I think it would be really interesting to watch a character go through major changes in her life and try so hard to resist in making the changes that you as a reader know she has to make. I also think that the first book sounds really intriguing and it sounds as if it was a favorite with you. This was a great review and I am going to be trying to find out a little bit more about Allison Winn Scotch. Thanks, Trish!

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  4. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I haven’t read any of Scotch’s work, but I’m looking forward to this one. I’m glad to see you liked it.

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  5. Jenners

    I’ve been hearing a lot of the same complaints about this book … Tilly kind of wears on people! I don’t think clarity is a gift I would want to have to be honest.

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  6. Allison Winn Scotch

    Hey Trish!

    I just wanted to thank you so much for reviewing this. I understand what you’re saying about Tilly – I felt it for the first four drafts, though my draft seven, I grew to love her. 🙂 What’s been interesting for me, as the author, is to see how people are responding to her specifically – that really is determining the crux of a lot of the reviews. And what’s been more interesting is that a lot of people really relate to her…and in some ways, because I didn’t – and I related more to Jillian from Time of My Life – I’m always surprised by this. (In the best of ways.) I have a lot of affection for Jillian, but a lot of people didn’t, really, really didn’t. So…I dunno, just interesting from the perspective of having crafted these characters and seeing what’s resonating.

    Anyway, thanks for your kind words about my writing, and keep up the great work on the blog!

    Allison

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  7. Esme

    I love the cover of her books.

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  8. Beth F

    I picked up a copy of this in NYC. I’ve never read Scotch, so I’m looking forward to giving this a try.

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  9. S. Krishna

    I agree that Tilly was difficult to like at the beginning, but I found her so fascinating to dissect that it didn’t impede my enjoyment of the book. Her selfishness did bother me though

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  10. Jen-Girls Gone Reading

    This one should be arriving today, and I am excited to read it. I also agree with you about her blog-it is great.

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  11. Amanda

    This one sounds interesting – I also liked Time of My Life a lot.

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  12. Staci

    I haven’t read Time of My Life (yet) so this was my first experience with the author and I truly loved this story. I liked Tilly and didn’t really have any problems with her. I felt that she was so scared of not being happy that she forgot what happy truly was. Overall, I enjoyed this one and am so glad that TLC let me be a part of the tour too!!!

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  13. Meg

    Tilly definitely had some rather self-absorbed tendencies — and, like you, I kept waiting for some of her “clarity” to extend to her sisters and father. But I guess, ultimately, it did? I liked the ambiguity of the ending, too, and many of the points Scotch raises about happiness. Lots of great quotes in there!

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  14. Lisa

    How have I entirely avoided reading any of Winn Scotch’s books? Hmm…how am I going to sneak this book into my house? I know! I’m going to dig a mailing envelope from anther book out of the trash, tuck this in, tape it shut and stick it between my front doors which the hubby is out on a bike ride. Hee hee, he’ll totally think I got it for free!

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  15. Stephanie

    Originally I did not give this one a second glance because I figured it was just typical chick lit (I am just not a fan of Allison Winn Scotch’s covers!) but after reading your review I am drawn in because of the premise. If anything, I bet it is a good summer read.

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  16. Anna

    This was the one book at BEA that I just had to have, and I can’t wait to read it. I know what you mean, though, about unlikeable characters making it hard to really, really like a book. I’ve had that happen before.

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  17. Jennifer

    Thanks for the many recommendations that this book spurred for you. It definitely sounds like a good read even if it does have a few issues with character development. Definitely going to be checking out this author in the future!

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  18. Lisamm

    HI Trish, Great review. Thank you so much for being on the tour!

    [Reply]

  19. Allison Winn Scotch, author of The One That I Want, on tour June 2010 | TLC Book Tours

    […] Monday, June 7th:  Hey, Lady!  Whatcha’ Readin’? […]

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