Sunday 25 August 2013

The Life List

Finished August 23
The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

This novel is set in Chicago. Brett Bohlinger has grown up in a privileged family, her mother running a multi-million dollar cosmetics company. Her mother has recently died and Brett is hit hard by the loss. She fully expects to take over as head of the company, but it turns out that her mother had other things in mind.
Back when she was fourteen, Brett has made one of the lists that many of us have made listing all the things she hoped to do in her life: things like have children, learn languages, go places, etc. Brett had long forgotten this list, but her mother had found it back then and saved it and now expects Brett to fulfill the goals on this list as a condition to her inheritance. Brett is stunned. She feels her goals have changed radically, but her mother has left her more than just the list. There are messages for every goal she completes, and it turns out that her mother knew her even better than she guessed.
This is a feel good book despite the fact that it starts with a major loss, and I would call it a coming of age book even though Brett is in her 30s. Sometimes we need to be reminded of our hopes and dreams, because we have got off course somewhere along the way. Women, particularly, have a tendency to please others at the expense of our own needs, and sometimes lose the confidence we had when we are young to try new things and take risks. This book reminds us that sometimes we need to take those risks if we want the reward of happiness or just greater self knowledge.

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