Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch

"Finally, when she was six weeks old, I heard her stir in her crib, so I dragged myself in to begin the routine: diaper, nurse, burp, sing, nap all over again.  Katie was staring at her pink floral bumper guard and must have heard me enter.  She startled and started to wail, and my insides curdled at the sound of it.  But then, I poked my face over her crib, and she shifted her head and our eyes locked.  She can see me!  I thought.  She hushed immediately, and a tiny smile crept across her pink rosebud lips.  And I felt it: that rush akin to a drug-fueled high that mothers, explain as indescribable, that tug of love that knows no boundaries."

From the outside, Jillian appears to have the perfect life. Jillian strives to make a picture-perfect lifestyle for successful banker husband and eighteen-month old daughter - just like in the parent magazines that she obsessively reads.  Even though Jillian does everything right, she struggles with her slowly faltering marriage and the day to day repetition of her life as a stay at home mom.  When she hears that her ex-boyfriend Jackson is engaged, she starts thinking about what her life would have been like if she had married him instead. 

Suddenly, Jillian is transported back in time seven years.  She wakes up in her old apartment with Jackson where she works at her old job as an advertising agent.  Jillian is forced to make herself fit in to her old life and she begins to think that it is much easier the second time around.  Free from the duties of being married and parenthood, she is free to focus on her job and her personal life.  She dodges past fights with Jackson, reconnects with her mother who abandoned the family, and saves her best friend from miscarriages.  Things seem to be going great, except that she misses her daughter and starts to realize that her relationship with Jackson might not be as great as she once thought.  Reliving the past turns out to be a lot more complicated than Jillian thought.  Plus she keeps running into her husband Henry.  Jillian starts to realize that maybe that problem wasn’t her marriage or her mundane life, but herself.  Now she is forced to choose between her life with Jackson and her marriage with Henry.  And if she chooses Henry, she has to first figure out how to get back from her past.

I tend to enjoy women’s fiction novels that have a little most substance, but I actually found this book very entertaining.  I’ve read a lot of intense and “hard-issue” books lately so this was a nice change of pace.  I found myself liking the character of Jillian (even though her “perfect life” made me role my eyes more than a few times) and thought that the author did a good job of incorporating time travel without overdoing the details.  I really liked how different aspects of the character’s lives were slightly changed once Jillian arrived back in the past and thought that it was a very realistic portrayal of marriage and motherhood.  The ending was rather surprising as well.

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