Jillian Westfield has the perfect suburban life straight out of the upscale women's magazines that she obsessively reads. She's got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple, and the elaborate Easter egg hunts seen in Parents. With her successful investment banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic 18-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines' glossy Range Rover ads.
Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can't seem to fix her faltering marriage, banish the tedium of days spent changing diapers, or stop her from asking, “What if?”
Then, one morning, Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. Before her daughter was born. Before she married Henry. Suddenly, she's back in her post–grad school Ikea-furnished Manhattan apartment. She's back in her fast-paced job with the advertising agency. And she's still with Jackson, the ex-boyfriend and star of her what-if fantasies.
Armed with 20-20 hindsight, she's free to choose all over again. She can use the zippy ad campaigns from her future to wow the clients and bosses in her present. She can reconnect with the mother who abandoned her so many years before. She can fix the fights at every juncture that doomed her relationship with Jackson. Or can she?
With each new choice setting off a trajectory of unforeseen consequences, Jillian soon realizes that getting to happily ever after is more complicated than changing the lines in her part of the script. Happiness, it turns out, isn't an either-or proposition. As she closes in on all the things she thought she wanted, Jillian must confront the greatest what-if of all: What if the problem was never Henry or Jackson, but her?
Sharp, funny, and heartwarming, Time of My Life will appeal to anyone who has ever wanted to redo the past and will leave readers pondering, “Do we get the reality we deserve?”
©2008 Allison Winn Scotch (P)2011 Audible, Inc
This is a brilliantly-articulated story about the age-old "What if?" questions that can come up when we examine our lives. While I usually avoid genres that deal in fantasy and time-travel, this book made the whole "back to the future" idea palatable and even seem possible. Due to some accidental metaphysics by a spa masseur, the main character is sent back seven years and gets a do-over, which causes her a few anguished re-decisions, and she learns that it's not necessarily any easier, even with 20/20 hindsight, the second time around.
I did wish the author had developed one of the story arcs a little more, as one plot line was left hanging. But perhaps that's like life, we are always left "hanging" in one sense or another as our own personal stories evolve.
The narration was marred only by some extended squealing and unnecessary high volume groans, but on balance it worked just fine.
I was sooo bored by this book, I almost stopped listening several times and should not have forced myself to complete it. I had anticipated a "guilty pleasure" kind of read but did not find the story or the characters particularly captivating. The lead character is someone I would definitely not care for in real life, and I never grew to care much for what she did or what her choices would be. In all fairness, this is not the type of book I would normally gravitate toward, so I may be a little harder on it in my review than it deserves.
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