Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book Review: Time of my Life

From the outside view, Jillian Westfield has a pitch-perfect life. Her cherubic 18-month old daughter, her wildly successful investment banker husband, a four-bedroom, five-bath, lemon-scented home with landscaping and neighbors to match. But that doesn’t stop her from mulling over the past, from pushing away the “what ifs” that haunt her when she allows them to seep into her consciousness. What if she hadn’t married Henry? What if she hadn’t abandoned her job at the first sign of pregnancy? What if she’d never broken up with Jackson ? What if she answered her mother’s letter? Because underneath the shiny veneer of her life, Jill waddles around in a faltering marriage, brewing resentment, and an air of discontentedness. But after an ethereal massage in which her therapist releases her blocked chi, she wakes up to discover that she’s been whisked seven years back, back to her old life, her old self, back to the moments in which she made decisions that charted her future course. And now that she’s back, she’s faced with the same roadblocks and obstacles, only this time, armed with hindsight, she can choose a different path and finally lay to rest all of her “what ifs.”

Time of My Life is much more than a story about a real life desperate housewife. Instead, it speaks to so many of our tiny, lingering doubts, the same doubts that send us googling old friends and exes or wistfully pulling out pictures of days gone by. And through Jillian’s journey, in which she rediscovers the mother who abandoned her, reacquaints herself with the strengths she once deemed important, and may literally rewrite her future, we all get a chance to peek inside the windows of our own “what ifs,” and consider if the path we took was the one that has granted us the most happiness.

This book was entertaining and thought provoking in the sense of 'what if' this happened instead. I think that Allison did a very good job, of making Jilly go back seven years and getting a second chance at life, where she thinks she messed it all up. Jilly the main character, was in some ways hard to connect to for me, for she seemed to only want to work in the busy advertising world (in her second chance) and was very caught up in the perfect household and mother act (in her first chance). I'm not addicted to work nor do have to have magazine approval house and child.

But I did connect to her in the way that any mother of a young toddler can connect with other mothers in the same boat. I could easily imagine the strees and loneliness she felt when she was in her second chance from not having her baby girl with her or to care for her.

I really liked how the author was able to go between how Jilly reacted the first time to her life and then how she reacted the second time. She was much more mature and sound thinking the second time around, due to hindsight. She is able to make better choices about different relationships and grow the ones that are more important to her. She learns that its not other people are not always to blame for the problems in your life, that most of that blame needs to be placed upon yourself. You have to look at yourself first to start fixing problems in your life and in your relationships.

At the very end of the book, when she is again thrust foward seven years back into the future, you feel as if there is another chapter that needs to be wrote, all about how much different her second seven years was compared to the first. For she just wakes up and her life is similar, but very different because of the choices she made the second time around, and so she doesn't know what happend in those seven years. But you are left with a feeling that she is pleased and happy with her life.

This book was helpful in making me ask, do I have any 'What If's?' Do my relationships need work? Do I need to change something to accomplish this? I think we all need to ask ourselves these questions and at different points in our life, for I bet I feel different at thirty then I do at twenty three.

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