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Time of My Life is Thought Provoking Chick Lit

February 11, 2010

Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch
published by Three Rivers Press August 4, 2009

I have a persistent fantasy about traveling back in time and changing the past. If I timed it just right, could I make sure not to prevent the conception of my youngest child, but still have time to try to prevent my mom’s premature death? What if I could go back and hold my babies again? Prevent some of the mistakes we made with them? Hell, I’d even be happy to have fifteen minutes to give my younger dumbass self a serious talking to and some good advice. 😀

Given my fascination with this topic, it’s not surprising that I picked up Time of My Life, a story of a woman who gets to go back seven years and try again. Jillian is a highly driven, perfectionistic career woman turned full-time mom. Her marriage to her hubby, Henry, has gotten suffocatingly dry. Even though she adores her eighteen-month-old daughter Katie, she feels trapped in a life she’s not sure she wants. When a friend tells her that her ex-lover Jackson just got married, she cries — crying for her old life, her past romance, the one that got away.

Suddenly she finds herself seven years younger and living with Jackson, shortly before her relationship with Jack unravels and she meets Henry. She is an advertising executive on the cusp of success. This is an opportunity to try again — using what she’s learned through hindsight to make this relationship work and make her career more successful than ever. She also gets another chance to decide whether to contact her mother, who disappeared from her life when Jillian was nine, leaving agonizing wounds.

On one level, this is a fun time-travel story, but it is really a novel about the complexity of relationships and emotions. As she relives her old life, Jillian finds time to think about her relationships with both Jackson and Henry and unravel the complicated tangle of love, passion, disappointment, and resentment she feels for both men. She must also come to terms with the fact that in going back in time, she left her own beloved daughter behind. She looks at the mother-child relationship in an unflinchingly honest way — it is an amazing kind of love, but at the same time it’s unpredictable and overwhelming. This brings up her unresolved feelings toward her own mom. Can she find a way to see the mother who abandoned her, “ruining” her life, in a new light?

I had mixed feelings about this novel. In terms of the character development and dialogue, while it was enjoyable, it didn’t dazzle me. On the other hand, the writing was beautiful — articulate, honest and funny. And I thought the author brilliantly tackled some challenging themes, including memory and how deceptive our recollections can be.  The novel also explores the many layers of relationships and the roles women play: daughter, wife, and mother. It looks at the ambivalent feelings we have toward people we love and the different angles from which we see those closest to us at different points in our lives.

I highly recommend this book, both as a fun, light read and a thought-provoking novel about memories, regrets, relationships and life choices.

Where I Got This Book: Purchased it.

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