Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Audiobook Review: The Next Thing On My List by Jill Smolinski

Here is a summary of the book from Jill Smolinski's website:

Meet June Parker.  She works for L.A. Rideshare, adores her rent-stabilized apartment in Santa Monica, and struggles with losing a few pesky pounds. 

But June’s life is about to change.

After a dark turn of events involving Weight Watchers, a chili recipe and a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June finds herself in possession of a list, “20 Things to Do By My 25th Birthday.”  Even though they barely knew each other, June is compelled by both guilt and a desire to set things right to finish the list for Marissa.

The tasks before her range from inspiring (Run a 5K), to daring (Go braless), to near-impossible (Change someone’s life), and as June races to achieve each goal before the deadline, she learns more about her own life than she ever bargained for.

My Review:
I must admit that I have never sat down and actually written a life list.  Sure, I have goals that I want to achieve within my lifetime, but there really is something about putting those goals on paper that can be a bit condemning.  After listening to this audiobook, I think a life list is something that we all need to do.  From reading the summary of this book, I was expecting a book with a melancholy tone about it.  And although the narrator did have that touch of sadness in her voice throughout the book, I found it very enjoyable and even laughed a couple of times.

As stated in the summary above, the book starts out with June going to a Weight Watchers meeting.  After offering to give Marissa a ride home, whom she just met, they are involved in a terrible accident with June as the only survivor.  June doesn't know how to deal with her guilt until she finds a list of achievements that Marissa was working on.  For some reason, June decides that she must complete these tasks for Marissa.  A couple of items have been checked off, but she certainly has a long way to go.

It seemed to me that as June was completing the tasks on Marissa's list, that new opportunities were made available to her. She finds herself meeting new people, building closer relationships with her own family members, and somehow connecting with Marissa's family.  Although Marissa's family is still grieving the loss of a sister and daughter, they feel that June trying to complete Marissa's list is somehow a tribute to her memory.

Some of the items on the list were quite comical and made me laugh, while others were pretty serious commitments.  One of the tasks was 'To change someone's life.'  As June was driving one day she happened to notice a billboard for the Big Brother, Big Sister program and it said on the billboard "Change Someone's Life Today."  So she took this as a definite sign and headed directly to the office to get involved in the program right away.  June had grand thoughts of helping a young, disadvantaged little girl find her way in life.  Things did not quite work out as June had expected when she was paired up with a fourteen year old teenage girl named Didi.  By helping Didi and her family, June was able to reconnect with her own brother and rebuild the relationship that had become stagnant many years before.

It was so much fun getting caught up with June as she was trying to complete this list.  I found myself even getting nervous at times when the idea that she wouldn't be able to complete a task came across my mind.  This story had so many elements to it including how to move on with your life after a tragedy, which involves forgiving yourself and others.  We can accomplish almost anything in this lifetime if we set our minds to it.  I enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it.

My Rating: 4/5


bermudaonion said...

Sounds like a wonderful, life-affirming book. Did you make a life list? I'm thinking about what I would put on mine now.

Jo-Jo said...

Kathy: I haven't made my life list yet...I might need to make a mini list to get an actual list done! lol

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I like this book when I read it a few years ago. Great review.

Toni said...

I think this sounds like a good book. Unique and compelling to read. I think I'd be afraid to mae the list. ..

TexasRed said...

This sounds really interesting. It's going on my list!

Anonymous said...

My husband is big on his yearly, 5 year, 10 year goal lists, but I'm not sure that even he has a life list. Being a list lover myself, I am going to have to add this one to my wish list. Fun review :)

Veens said...

Sounds so cool.. God.. what will i put in my list :) :)

Unknown said...

I already have this on my TBR list. Just needed the extra push get it from the library. Thanks for the review.