Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Review: The Next Thing on My List (Jill Smolinski)

Title: The Next Thing on My List
Author: Jill Smolinski
Genre: Adult lit
Pages: 288
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money
Summary (from the back of the book): After a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June Parker finds herself in possession of a list Marissa has written: "20 Things to Do by My 25th Birthday." The tasks range from inspiring (run a 5K) to daring (go braless) to near-impossible (change someone's life). to assuage her guilt, June races to achieve each goal herself before the deadline, learning more about her own life than she ever bargained for.

Review: I read about this book on One Person's Journey and really liked her review. Her book group read it and each brought a list to talk about. I suggested this to my MUS Moms book group at our last meeting and they thought it sounded like fun. So, in April I'll get to share parts of my list with the group and I will get to hear their lists, which I am really excited about!

First off, I am a list maker, no doubt about it. And, I've had a "to do" list since I was 18. I add to it every few years and I even subtract from it. Embarrassingly, at 19 and far from home I thought it would be "cool" to join others at my college and do shrooms so added that to the list. Wisely I never did them and crossed them off the list a couple years later. Some of the things I've done that are on my list: have children, be a weight I am satisfied with, and earn a college and advanced degree. Still to do? Pet a lion, go to the moon, and read War and Peace.

Ok. Back to the book. I really enjoyed it. It flows well, the characters are believable and likable, and the plot is also based in reality, which I liked. The book has its "heavy" moments, but they aren't a downer and don't detract from the overall positive feeling I had when reading this book. I found the whole concept of fulfilling someone else's wish list (for whatever the reason) uplifting and exciting. Would she finish the list before Marissa's Birthday? How would Marissa's family react? Would June's friends be supportive? I love it when a book pulls me in and makes me want to stay up late to finish (which I did last night).

I think we all tend to go through our daily lives not realizing the impact we have on others. I don't mean the big, extreme impact as in "You've changed my life!", but rather, the small aspects. A smile, a hello, a well-timed question, a compliment. This book also explores that idea, that people we don't feel are important in our lives or with whom we have nothing in common, can become significant if we let them.

8 comments:

Lost in a Book said...

This sounds really great! Thanks for the review! I've been trying to make a list of things I want to do before this age or that point in my life...but I always decide that I don't want to pin myself down to anything!

reederreads said...

I love this book and I like to recommend it to all my friends and family :) Glad you enjoyed it!!!

Helen M said...

Lost--I do have my list, but I don't look at it very often so I definitely don't feel pinned down by it. And, if I don't get it all done I'm ok with that too. I accidently published your comment twice so I deleted one of them, that's why you'll see a "comment deleted". Sorry!

Reederreads--I have already passed it on to someone else. It really is a fun one.

softdrink said...

Good luck with that moon goal. :-D

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

Thanks for the great review! I love the sound of this book!

Helen's Book Blog said...

Softdrink--yeah, the moon goal is a little realistic, but what the heck! I can dream, right?

Bookalicious--This book is really fun and also gets one thinking about what is really important.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Helen - I am so glad you enjoyed the book and had a good discussion with it. You are right, there are heavy moments in the book, but the author handles them well so the book does not come off as heavy.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Shelia--I think that's what I really liked about it, that it was dealing with a heavy subject in a not-so-heavy way. But, it also didn't make light/fun of it either.