Title: Time of My Life
Author: Allison Winn Scotch
Release Date: October 7, 2008
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: **** 1/2 (ot of 5)
From the dust jacket:
Jillian Westfield has the perfect suburban life straight out of the upscale women’s magazines that she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-prin rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple, and the elaborate Easter egg hunt seen in Parents. With her successful investment banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-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….
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?
Time of My Life is the story that we all wish (secretly or not-so-secretly) was our own: the chance to return to the past to fix mistakes we’d made and answer those pesky “What if” questions that have been lingering in the back of our heads for years. But it’s also a story of finding yourself; as Jillian forges further and further into her brand new future, she begins to realize that maybe the others around her weren’t the problem; maybe it was her. And maybe she needs to focus on herself, rather than always smiling and nodding and going along with what every situation required at the time.
Winn wrote the character of Jillian extremely well. I really did care about her; I felt like I had a personal stake in her story, that it had to be fixed. I needed the message of this book to be that regrets are okay. They are normal. Those “what ifs” are perfectly reasonable, but you can’t build a life around regrets. And that was indeed the message of the book – as cheesy as it sounds, the most important thing Jillian needed to do was be true to herself, to stop being a “chameleon” and molding herself to those around her. However, it was also about understanding others, about not jumping to the worst conclusions when someone nags at us or bothers us about something. Maybe it’s not about being annoying. Maybe it’s about love.
The one thing I wanted from the book was more. I would have liked to see Jillian deal with the consequences of her experiences, and see how much she, and her situation, had changed. I can’t say any more than that because I don’t want to ruin the book’s ending, but when all you can say is you wanted more story from an author, that’s definitely not a bad thing.
Time of My Life is enjoyable, funny, honest, and very self-reflective. It’s a book that really makes you appreciate what you have, rather than longing for some other path somewhere else. We all need to be reminded every once in awhile that it’s okay to doubt and okay to fear; as long as you are in control, it’s all going to turn out just fine.