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Time of My Life: A Novel

Time of My Life: A Novel

3.7 78
by Allison Winn Scotch

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Jillian Westfield has a life straight out of the women’s magazines she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, and the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple. With her investment-banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the



Jillian Westfield has a life straight out of the women’s magazines she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, and the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple. With her investment-banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines’ Range Rover ads.

Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can’t seem to fix her faltering marriage or stop her from asking "What if?"

Then one morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. She’s back in her Manhattan apartment. She’s back in her fast-paced job. And she’s still with Jackson, the ex-boyfriend, and star of her what-if fantasies.

Armed with twenty-twenty hindsight, she’s free to choose all over again. She can reconnect to the mother who abandoned her, she can use ad campaigns from her future to wow her clients, and she can fix the fights that doomed her relationship with Jackson.

Or can she?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In her latest novel, Scotch tackles an oft-asked question-what if I had held on to the one that got away?-with an engaging, fast-moving, high-concept drama. Endearing Jillian Westfield seems to have it all: a loving lawyer husband, a healthy infant daughter, and a lovely home in Westchester County, N.Y. But cleaning spit-up and dealing with her husband's long office hours have begun to wear on Jill, and it hardly helps that she's just learned that her post-college boyfriend, Jackson, is getting married. The day after a deep, chi-clearing massage, Jill wakes up and finds herself seven years in the past, giving her the chance to revisit her life with Jack in Manhattan, when she worked as an advertising executive. Hindsight, of course, is anything but 20/20, and Jill's new choices hold unforeseen consequences for herself and those she loves. As Jill, through trial and error, rethinks her biggest decisions-such as her choice not to reconcile with her estranged mother-Scotch keeps one dexterous step ahead of page-flipping readers eager to guess the outcome. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Jillian has what seems to be a perfect life-a beautiful house in the suburbs, a loving husband, and an adorable baby girl. But she also has a nagging feeling that something isn't quite right. Could it have something to do with Jackson, her past boyfriend, who couldn't be more different than her solid, stable, and perfectly predictable husband, Henry? One morning, Jillian wakes up seven years in the past, in bed with Jackson, and she has the chance to live her life again-a do over, complete with the knowledge of what her future will become. Will she still quit her job right on the cusp of making it big? Will she run for the hills when she meets Henry or be drawn to him again? Or will Jackson's easygoing, wild lifestyle pull her back from her future baby, the adorable Katie? So many life choices come at Jillian, and she can go forward as she pleases, knowing the outcome of one direction. If you've ever wanted your own do over, this cute, light read by a debut novelist will keep you guessing 'til the end. Recommended for women's fiction collections.-Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC

From the Publisher
Named a Top 10 Must-Read for the Season by The Today Show

"Scotch's novel is a clever, entertaining look at the compromises women make - and the dangers of getting what you asked for."

“After this hilarious read, you may just return to your crazy-busy routine a little happier.”

“Perfect to read with friends. A book we love....The kind of unputdownable book you'll really hope gets made into a movie."

"[Jillian] is easy to understand, a woman trying to figure out who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Scotch is a fluent, spirited writer."
—Boston Globe

“Book pick of the month. Insightful and honest, Winn Scotch keeps it light but delves in the dark doubts of the road not taken.”
—Family Circle

“A must-read. A fantastic, often funny novel.”
—Hallmark Magazine

“An engaging, fast-moving, high-concept drama. Scotch keeps one dexterous step ahead of page-flipping readers eager to guess the outcome.“
—Publishers Weekly

“Scotch’s second book shows a writer coming into her own, a storyteller who doesn’t take the easy way out, and a woman with a fine understanding of human nature.”

“Time of My Life is a fabulous, madcap read, but don’t be fooled. Allison Winn Scotch’s narrator is wrestling with some tough issues: How do I find my place in the world? Can I become a wife and mother without losing myself? Would I have been happier if I had chosen another path? Scotch’s book is hilarious and true. I loved it.”
—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Forgive Me

“I loved this book! Time of My Life is funny and delightful and honest in the way only the best novels can be. I read it all in one delicious sitting.”
—Laura Dave, author of London Is the Best City in America and The Divorce Party

“Time of My Life will keep you reading all night and guessing till the very end. An honest and engaging tale about how hindsight may not be twenty-twenty and how our decisions are rarely black and white. I loved it.”
—Julie Buxbaum, author of The Opposite of Love

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
3 Months

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.

Somewhere in the tunnels of my left ear, I hear my car alerting me to the fact that my door is open. I take vague notice of my brain accepting the message, then I quickly ignore it. The dinging, to which I am now immune, as if someone were pinching me on my arm over and over again until that same spot becomes numb, continues.

I run my hands over the cool wood of the steering wheel, then onto the buttery leather seat below, flicking my hands underneath the sweat-basted backs of my thighs. The brochure to this car— the one that was filled with a couple who so closely resembled Barbie and Ken that my daughter actually pointed to them and said, “Barbie,” which my husband and I applauded to the point of revelry (such that people in the dealership craned their necks to see if we’d been given a free car or something), because my daugh- ter’s vocabulary consisted of, to date, approximately seventeen words, so “Barbie” was another milestone—actually made you believe that if you bought the car, you could also buy the life. As if on the weekends, we’d be careening down sides of mountains or hurtling through white-water-filled rivers or picnicking in a dewy, crisply green meadow at sunset with a field of sunflowers just behind us.

Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.


















I run the list of Katie’s words over in my mind. I have them down cold, of course, because I was the mother who knew these things. I was the mother who dutifully jotted down every milestone (“4 months, 3 weeks: Katie rolled over today! Far ahead of the 6-month target!”), who nursed her until her first birthday exactly, per the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation (“I’m so sad to give it up,” I told friends as wrinkles washed across my forehead to note my air of sincerity), and who, as I have mentioned, tallied up Katie’s vocabulary to ensure that she was on track to fulfill her potential. Seventeen words. A gasp ahead of other eighteen-month-olds.

And now, we also had “Barbie.”

Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Splat.

My eyes whip over to the upper corner of the windshield, where mildew-colored bird shit slowly oozes down. Great, I think. Just fucking great. There’s never any bird shit in the goddamn brochure. I inhale and try to release the stress, as my Pilates teacher had taught me to do every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 10:00 to 11:00, after my nanny had arrived, and just before I went to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for dinner. I feel the air fill my chest, and it expands like a helium balloon.

I count to five and try not to gag. It’s hard, after all, to clear my mind when the scent of fetid milk is wafting from the backseat. On the way home from a playdate yesterday, Katie had dumped her sippy cup on her head, for apparently no reason whatsoever, and since I’d already exhausted myself pretending to dote on the kids at this seemingly never-ending excruciatingly boring playdate, during which all the moms discussed diaper changes and nanny problems and potential preschool applications, I opted not to clean her car seat. Fuck it, I told myself, as I pulled my darling daughter and her crisp near-black curls from her saturated seat and called her a “silly willy” for dousing herself despite knowing better. Just fuck it.

And so I did. Which is why my Range Rover, which should have still smelled like a fine blend of lemon cleaner and shoe polish, now reeked like petrified puke.

The bird shit is snaking its way into the crack between the windshield and the side of the car when I notice that Mrs. Kwon is waving at me from inside of the dry cleaner. She is frantically, frantically flashing her hand through the air, with an alarmed, toothy smile that she wears just about every time I see her. Sometimes the alarm fades into cunning, but the toothiness remains the same.

Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.

I heave myself from my car and make the steep step down to the pavement. I turn and look at the backs of my legs: They glisten from the perspiration and are pocked with marks from the seat, such that they form the perfect illusion of sheeny cellulite. I slam the door shut.

Suddenly, there is quiet. I couldn’t hear the dings. But now, I do hear the quiet.


“You no look so good,” Mrs. Kwon says to me. The rack of clothes that hangs across and throughout the ceiling is snaking its way forward until she presses a button, and it stops abruptly. She grabs a pole and reaches up to unhook Henry’s, my husband’s, shirts. “You not sleeping? Because you really no look so good.”

I press my lips together and morph my face into something like a smile. I can feel my cheeks digging into themselves, my dimples cratering.

“No,” I say, and shake my head. “Not sleeping too much, I guess.”

“What wrong?” Mrs. Kwon asks, as she wrestles the shirts down to our level.

“Nothing.” I shrug. My face muscles are starting to tremble from the weight of the forced smile. “Nothing at all.”

“You not being honest,” Mrs. Kwon chastises. “When you no sleep, something is always wrong.” She lands the shirts, much like how I imagine a fisherman lands his catch, and splays them across the counter.

I don’t answer. Instead, I sift through my purse for my wallet.

“Have you talk to husband about it?” Mrs. Kwon is relentless. “You always picking up his things, but I never meet him. Why? Where is he? Why he never pick up his own shirts?”

“He’s working,” I say.

“Eh,” she responds. “Men always working. They not realizing that the women are working, too.” She gestures behind her. “My husband think that because I am wife, I have to clean, cook, and still do dry-clean business. What does he do? Nothing!” She shimmies her hands even more exuberantly than normal.

I smile with what I hope to be sympathy and wait for my change, as she punches the cash register with fervor.

“You know what you need?” she asks, as the drawer to the register bounces open. “More sex.” I feel myself turning a hue of purple, which she quickly detects. “Don’t you be embarrassed! Every woman need more sex. You sleep better. Your marriage better. Sex make all things better.”

“Well, unfortunately,” I say, trying to swallow the mortification that comes with your dry cleaner giving you advice on your carnal activities, “Henry is in London. And will be for at least another week.” I don’t mention that Henry is nearly always in London or San Francisco or Hong Kong or somewhere that isn’t our quaint, homey suburb tucked away thirty miles from Manhattan, where people flee from the city life like fugitives who aren’t sure what they’re outrunning. Henry’s constant travel was the price we paid for his success as the youngest partner at his boutique investment bank.

“Oooh, that too bad.” Mrs. Kwon’s eyes grow small. “You do look like you need some good sex.” She shrugs and flashes her teeth again. “Maybe next week you look better!”

Maybe, I think, as I plod out to my sure-to-make-my-life-rosy new car. But, then again, probably not.


Right there, I nearly moaned out load. Yes, harder right there.

Garland must have intuited my angst because at that very moment, I feel his fingertips knead into my upper shoulders like a baker might bread.

“You’re spasming here,” he whispers just loudly enough so I can hear him over the Enya. I feel my muscle involuntarily clench up and resist the very relief that I’m trying to offer it. “This entire section of your back is in deep spasm,” he repeats. “We’re going to have to do a lot of work on this today.”

I grunt and rearrange my face in the donut cushion so that I, ideally, won’t look half-alien when Garland is done. Not that he hasn’t seen me at my worst before: once, on my worst day, I devolved into sputtering sobs as his hands worked their way down my torso, releasing what he later told me was “disturbed energy” that came unjiggered through the power of massage. But still. It wasn’t a look to which I aspired. Not least because, as my friends from Pilates informed me, Garland, with his sinewy forearms and espresso-colored hair, would occasionally put his hands in places where, perhaps, management wouldn’t approve. But where my friends very much did.

But I’d been seeing him every other week for nearly four months, and as of yet, nothing inappropriate at all. Which, in some ways, was a relief. Henry and I had met at twenty-seven, and for the past seven years, there had been no one else. Nor had I truly wanted there to be. I was a wife. I was a good wife, and fantasizing about your masseuse, no, fantasizing about anyone was outside the bounds of what I characterized a “good” wife to be. I attended the requisite cocktail parties for Henry’s firm. I washed our ivory damask sheets every Saturday. I ironed Katie’s gingham dresses so that there wasn’t a literal thread out of place.

Of course, despite my best and most public efforts, my subconscious occasionally led me down paths that my current consciousness couldn’t control. So while Garland worked his delicious finger magic on me, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel if those fingers wound their way beyond the acceptable parameters of what they teach you in massage school.

Meet the Author

ALLISON WINN SCOTCH is the author of the novel The Department of Lost and Found. Her work has also appeared in Parents, Glamour, and Redbook. She is at work on her next novel.

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Time of My Life 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 78 reviews.
Averymorgan More than 1 year ago
When I saw that Allison Winn Scotch had a new novel I ran out to purchase it. I enjoyed her last novel The Department of Lost and Found and jumped at the chance to revisit her writing. When I started Time of My Life I did not expect to read through the night to finish it. HOwever, this is what happened. I could not put this book down. I am fascinated with the idea of time travel and who does think "what if"? I related to the character and felt I was right there with her. After finishing the book I found myself missing the characters. When you find a book that lets you feel like you are friends with the characters, so much that you miss them, you know you found a gem of a book. I contribute this to the superb writing style of Allison. I cannot recommend this book more highly and urge you to run out and grab the first copy you see before the last one flies off the shelf!
Seasons-of-Autumn More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up knowing nothing about the author, but I was pleasantly surprised. What a pleasurable read. Anyone can identify with the main character. And I loved the ending! Wasn't expecting it.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
This is a light, entertaining story of a woman who gets the chance to go back and make her big life choices over again. I think its a story most anyone can relate to. I have definately wondered, "What if I had married a different man?" Or "Where would I be if I had taken a different career path?".
Time of My Life is a very character driven book and Allison Winn Scotch did a beautiful job of making all the charaters both very likeable and very human. I cared a lot that Jillian figure it all out in the end.
All-in-all I found this to be a satisfying and enjoyable read and I will be checking out her other book The Department of Lost and Found soon!
poosie More than 1 year ago
This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, THE FAMILY MAN! Jillian, living the seemingly PERFECT life, great, stable, hard-working husband, big house, precious baby girl, but finds herself wondering, "what if?" If she'd taken a different road and stayed with her former boyfriend; then she wakes up one morning, only seven years before but remembers her real life.This is a humorous and exciting romp that I could read again and again!!! Well worth your time!!! Others on a similar premise that I could read again and again are: THE OPPOSITE OF ME, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, TIME OF MY LIFE, and SECOND TIME AROUND.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guess I am the lone dissenter. Sorry. There is too much good reading out there. But then I just finished the new Dan Brown book and I will pan that one too - how many times is he going to tell the same story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the outside looking in, it appears as though Jillian Westfield has the perfect life. After marrying and moving away from New York City into the suburbs, Jillan and her husband, Henry, have a daughter, Katie, a nice home and Jillian does not have to want for anything.

For Jillian, something is missing. She feels an emptiness inside, that she is uncertain if anything will ever fill it. Then one day while walking with a friend, she learns that her old flame, Jackson, is getting married. Trying to hide her true feelings, Jillian shrugs it off and politely wishes him the best. It's not until Jillian is alone that she allows her true feelings to emerge: what if Jackson was the one who got away? How different would her life be if she and Jackson never broke up and she never met and married Henry? To Jillian's surprise, she travels back in time to have those questions answered.

Time of My Life is a book for those of us who wake up one morning thinking: How did I get here? and There has to be more to my life than just this! Jillian gets the opportunity to attempt to correct those past mistakes and live the life she thinks she wants. As Jillian desperately tries to alter her future by cleaning up her past, she fails to realize that each action will have a consequence. She also comes to understand that no matter how hard she tries to manipulate situations to transform her life into what she wants it to be, events still occur that are out of her control. Jillian realizes running back into the past isn't always the answer. Just maybe, we need to release our past so that we may be able to fully appreciate what we have in front of us.
mamie316 More than 1 year ago
Haven't we all wondered what life would have been, if only.....? Jillian gets that chance to see. We see her go from doubting what life has brought to her, to wanting to go back, to seeing that maybe there is compromise in both. You care so much about her journey. There were so many parts I didn't see coming and found myself laughing out loud and getting a bit teary-eyed. This is one of those books that you'd like to snuggle up on the couch and read on a rainy day. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone who wonders about the one that got away will love this!!! I don't want it to end!
kcemt More than 1 year ago
OK..sometimes you just need to zone out in a book and not think. When I saw the cover of this book and read the description, I thought, "Oh great.chick lit." As I quickly made my way through this however, I realized that there can be really intelligent "chick lit" out there. This is it. The story revolves around Jillian and her, on the surface, "Good Housekeeping Life"...an executive husband, a baby girl who she adores, am exquisite home in the New York suburbs, and gourmet meals. Never has she felt so "suffocated" and finds herself terribly sad when she hears that her ex-boyfriend has recently married. Have you ever thought about what would have happened if you had gone down the "road not taken"? Jillian gets her chance and finds herself one day 7 years in the past..no husband, no child, no house in the suburbs, and again with her ex-boyfriend. She has the chance to take this road. Will she? A thoroughly enjoyable read which comes highly recommended. MY RATING - 5/5 For more book reviews and to see my rating scale, please visit my website: http://www.1776books.blogspot.com
Sunflower6_Cris More than 1 year ago
This book was well written and thought out with all the details covered completely. The main character Jillian Westfield dreams of what if's of her past life and relationship. She is able to wake up 10 years in the past and relive her life, relive her relationships with her boyfriend and friends as well as mold her "dream job" into something she knows she can achieve. However, there is always the downside to creating your own future. Including not marrying the right man, getting promoted too soon when you don't want it and predicting outcomes of friendships before they happen. Time of my Life is a great book club read. The story line is light and the characters are remarkably funny and believable. It will make you start wondering, what if.....
Sweetbabyj58 More than 1 year ago
I decided to read this book since it got such good reviews from this site and other book sites even though I'm not much of a time travel reader. I gave up after a few chapters since I didn't think there was much good in reading much more of this boring book. I really didn't care how the book ended and if she met her husband all over again in the near future.
bookworm919 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I could not put it down. I was sad when it ended. It was a fun and interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who hasn't wanted to go back and relive our lives. Maybe change for the better. A grass is always greener concept, but after a fashion predictible would be boring don't you think. I loved the story and how in hindsight the heroine can get perspective on her life and the choices she made and the reactions she had that impacted her. The ending was too rushed, leaving so many unanswered guestions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cover that displays when opening book is NOT the book cover; but a purple generic one which says Shaye Areheart books, New York...NOT WHAT I PAID FOR!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DudleyS More than 1 year ago
Yep, I'll admit it...I pick up the book mostly because of the cover, which really had nothing to do with the book. Jillian has created a life for herself that is planned down to the smallest details, to be a life she believes is what a life well lived should look like. She does this to compensate for what her own childhood looked like after her mother abandoned the family. She does this at the expense of true happiness for herself and her husband. A twist of fate has her waking up years in the past, prior to meeting her current husband, allowing her to answer the question of "what if I had taken a different road and stayed with my previous love? What if I hadn't given up my ambitious career? What if?". As she navigates the road of following through on her prior life, she does so with full knowledge of the path she had originally chosen. This provides conflict for Jillian as she misses her daughter and through a series of meetings with the man she originally married, sees him in a new light. By "trying out" her old life and seeing where she could have taken it, she finds answers to old pains, discovers what is really important and is able to create a life of happiness. This book provides a good message wrapped in chick lit. A couple of non-story related issues I had where with the editing. A few times I discovered inconsistencies in the story that were obvious. Also, the abundant use of commas made for a visually cluttered read. This could have been remedied by removing the unnecessary commas, as well as restructuring some sentences to remove the need for the comma. That said, I enjoyed the book and had fun reading it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read. Gives you lots to think about while you have a hard time putting the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun read! A little confusing at times - all of sudden you're not where you think you were. But that added to the fun.