The Next Thing on My List

The Next Thing on My List

by Jill Smolinski

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307381545
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 04/10/2007
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 45,327
File size: 866 KB

About the Author

JILL SMOLINSKI is a transplanted Midwesterner who currently lives in Southern California with her son. She is the author of Flip-Flopped.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Next on the list: Kiss a stranger.

"How about him?" Susan pointed to a guy so rakishly handsome, it was odd to see him in a downtown Los Angeles bar wearing a shirt and tie instead of modeling underwear in front of a camera, where he clearly belonged.

"Let's be realistic."

"Why? It's just a kiss."

Easy for her to say--she wasn't the one doing the kissing.

It was Thursday after work, and the Brass Monkey was hopping. Susan and I had already been at the bar for an hour, casing the joint and sipping two-dollar margaritas that were, sadly, much too weak to help me muster my courage.

"What do you think--on the lips?" I asked.

"Definitely, but tongue is up to you."

After much debate, I settled on three guys at a cocktail table across the bar. Mid- to late thirties and dressed in casual business attire, they seemed harmless, which was their primary appeal. Here goes. I hoisted myself bravely from my chair as if I were about to march forth into battle. My plan was to go up to their table, explain my predicament, and hope one of them would take pity on me and volunteer for the job.

In the event that that didn't work--well, I didn't want to think about what would happen if it didn't work. I suppose it would involve skulking away in humiliation.

I swigged down the last of my drink, took a breath, and strode to the table. The three guys looked at me with open curiosity. A woman approaching who wasn't a waitress was an interesting sight indeed. Plus I'd sort of slutted up for the occasion. I wore a snug suit over a camisole, and I'd gone to town with the eyeliner. My hair was doing its usual insane tumble of waves and curls to my shoulders.

"Hi! I'm June!" I said perkily.

After a moment, perhaps debating if I was going to try to sell them something, one of them said, "I'm Frank, and this is Ted, and Alfonso."

"Nice to meet you!" And then I plunged in. "I came over here because I was wondering if you could help me? I have this list of things I need to do." I held up the list, Exhibit A, which was handwritten on a sheet of ordinary notebook paper. "One of the things on it is that I need to kiss a stranger. So I was wondering--"

"You want to kiss one of us?" Alfonso asked eagerly.

Frank chimed in, "What--you on a scavenger hunt?"

"Not exactly," I answered.

"So would this kiss be on the mouth?"

"Yes."

"Tongue?"

"Optional."

Three sets of eyes gave me a once-over, but--bonus points for them--they tried to make it appear as if they weren't.

"Aw, Christ," Alfonso said with what appeared to be genuine regret, "we're all married."

"I'm not that married," Ted added. "I mean, if it'll help the girl out . . ."

"That's okay," I said, starting to back away. Why hadn't I thought to check for rings?

"No, we want to help you. None of us can do it, but we got a buddy here from work who might be able to. Hey, Marco!" Frank shouted across the bar, and who should turn around but the underwear model. Terrific. "There's a girl here needs a hand!"

Marco trotted over. Well, he seemed eager enough. Trying not to blush--and knowing Susan was probably bursting a spleen laughing--I repeated my story. Before I could finish, he snatched the paper from my hand and started reading it aloud.

"Let's see what this list is about," he boomed. "'Twenty Things to Do by My Twenty-fifth Birthday.'" Then he paused to look at me and smirk. "Twenty-fifth birthday?"

Oh, real nice!

I'll have him know that I may be thirty-four, but in certain lighting I still get carded.

"Give me that." I made a grab for the list.

He blocked me with his shoulder and kept reading. "Let's see what it says, shall we? Ah, yes, here it is: Kiss a stranger. . . ."

Afraid the list might get ripped if I grabbed for it again, I stood still, arms crossed, fuming.

Ted attempted to defend me. "Dude, don't be an a-hole."

"Run a 5K. . . . Get on TV. . . . Oh, wait, here's the best one: Lose one hundred pounds. Used to be a fatty, huh? Well, you're looking mighty fine now, sweetheart, so I can see why that one's got a line through it."

"Look," I snapped, "it's not even my list."

"Yeah, right."

"It's not. But it so happens I need to do the things on it."

Alfonso asked innocently enough, "Why's that?"

I sighed. "Long story. Please . . ." I held my hand out. "Give it back."

it was true. The list wasn't mine.

It belonged to Marissa Jones.

Even though there was no signature on it, I'm certain it's hers. I know because I discovered it myself in the days after I killed her. I'd been washing the blood off her purse so I could return it to her parents, and there it was. Folded and tucked inside her wallet.

Of course, I gave everything of hers back--even a pair of sunglasses found near the scene that I thought might possibly be mine.

But I kept the list. Didn't say a word about it to them. After all, how heartbreaking would it be to see your twenty-four-year-old daughter's list of dreams that would never be fulfilled?

Out of twenty items, she'd completed only two: Lose 100 pounds and Wear sexy shoes. The first one was already crossed off. The second I had to mark off for her myself--and seeing it written there sure explained those silver stilettos she was wearing when she died.

Naturally, everyone insisted that it wasn't my fault.

They nearly fell over one another at the funeral offering assurances and hugs--which I accepted as part of my penance. My body was one big bruise. Even the gentlest touch was agony.

And here's the worst part: She'd been thin less than a month. One lousy month. After a lifetime of knowing nothing but being fat.

As if to rub it in, staring at me from the front of the church had been a blown-up photo of Marissa standing in a pair of size twenty-eight pants--her body fitting in one leg while she held the waist out to its side. The smile on her face clearly said, Okay, world, here I come!

Well.

The whole time the minister was at the podium, I barely heard a thing he said. Instead, I devoted my thoughts to concocting the lie I would tell Marissa's family about her final words. They were going to want to know, after all. And there was no way I was going to tell them the truth: that she'd been giving me a recipe for taco soup.

Turned out I didn't need to worry. My entire interaction with them was limited to a handshake and an "I'm so sorry for your loss." I skipped the wake, feeling that my presence there--with my bruised collarbone and big shiner--would be nothing short of vulgar. Besides, it's not as if Marisssa and I were friends. I'd only met her the night she died.

She and I had been at the same Weight Watchers meeting. I'd just joined, hoping to lose the ten pounds that had managed to creep up from the last time I lost ten pounds. She'd received her lifetime pin for being at her weight goal (the irony of that word lifetime not lost on me now). Offering a ride to a stranger is something I wouldn't normally do, but I saw her teetering toward the bus stop on those "sexy shoes." I thought about how amazing it was she'd dropped so much weight and said to myself, What the heck. Maybe her success will rub off on me.

So there we were, zipping along Centinela Boulevard and chatting about dieting. I said to her something along the lines of "I'm worried I'll fail because I get so hungry when I go on a diet."

Then she said, "I have a recipe for a soup that's super filling."

And I said, "I'm not much of a cook."

And she said, "This is totally easy."

And I said, "Really?"

And she said, "I have the recipe right here with me. I swear, it's so simple--nothing but opening a bunch of cans."

And I said, "Well, great, let's see it!"

And she reached into the backseat of my car to grab her purse, which was the reason her seat belt was unbuckled at the moment of impact.

Marissa Jones's Taco Soup

4 cans navy or northern beans

1 can Mexican-spiced tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can corn

1 package taco seasoning

1 package fat-free ranch dressing mix

Mix ingredients in large saucepan. Heat and serve.

makes 8 servings.

As best I can recall (my head took quite a whack, so my memory is dodgy), a dresser toppled off a truck in front of us, and I'd jerked the steering wheel to avoid it. The rest is unclear. Witnesses reported that we skimmed the curb at an angle, which sent us rolling.

"Landed ass over teakettle," I heard one paramedic say to another as they slid my stretcher into the ambulance.

Another thing I overheard: "No hurry on that one, she's dead."

Dead? My hands felt around on my body. I wasn't sure which one of us he referring to.

It wasn't me.

Which meant . . .

Oh shit.

Shit, shit, shit.

After the accident, I tried to go back to life as usual, without success. Seemed I'd failed to account for one simple yet irrefutable fact, which is as follows: Knowing that you killed somebody is really depressing. Honestly, I can't fathom how people like Scott Peterson can pick themselves up afterward and go fishing. I barely had the energy to report to the office and perform a job I've been doing so long that I suspect I could do it in a coma.

The weeks ticked by. The bruises faded, and yet, unable to shake the despair that clung to me like a fog, I was left to conclude that there are two types of horrible events: the type that shake you up and cause you to grab life by the throat and never again take it for granted, and the type that make you lie in bed and watch a lot of reality TV.

Mine fell into the latter category.

With no one close enough to witness my downward spiral, I was free to fall. No husband or kids. No roommate. My boyfriend Robert made his break in late August, a month after the accident. We'd been on the brink of splitting anyway, lingering at that stage where we both knew things were over and yet, like a car we weren't quite ready to sell, we kept patching and paying for small repairs, waiting for something huge like the transmission to blow. As it turned out, the relationship was totaled. Robert could barely stand to look at the wreckage I'd become, and frankly, it was a relief when he left. I barely noticed him packing his toothbrush and the extra set of shoes he kept under my bed, what with the new fall TV season starting up.

If only Marissa hadn't written that list . . . or if hers had been more like my to-do lists: a bunch of nothing that nevertheless had occupied my time for the past three-plus decades. Pick up the dry cleaning. Run to the gym. Meet a friend for lunch. Some of the tasks got crossed off . . . others were transferred from paper to paper until I'd either finally get around to doing them or decide they weren't as important as I thought they were.

If I died, what could my obituary possibly even say? June Parker, on- and off-again girlfriend, midlevel employee, and lifelong underachiever, died waiting for something to happen. She is survived by a new pack of socks, the purchase of which was the greatest achievement crossed off her

to-do list.

I'd read Marissa's list only once before hiding it away in my dresser drawer. I wasn't even sure why I'd kept it. Sure, I told myself it would be sad for the family--but still, why did it bother me so much?

It was only when bathed in the forgiving light of the TV that I could bear to admit the truth to myself: Horrible as it was that I'd killed someone, I was relieved I hadn't died. For whatever reason, I'd been given a second chance.

Which is why I felt so guilty about squandering it. The gods who spared me were probably sitting around in the clouds, scratching their heads, and saying things like "You'd assume rescuing her from a pile of destroyed metal was enough! What do we need to get through to this woman? Plague? Locusts?!"

Problem was, I had no idea how to change. I wasn't and had never been that person who could sit down and write a list of things I wanted to do and then actually do them. Marissa Jones needed to rub off on me all right. Not so much the part of her that could lose weight, but the part that seemed to at least have a clue about what she wanted once she did.

It seemed it would require a miracle to pry me from my malaise and set me on a new course. As it turned out, all it took was a guy at the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Eleventh Street selling ten-dollar bouquets of roses.

it was january 20, exactly six months from the day Marissa died. My stomach had twisted when I noticed the date on my calendar and realized half a year had passed. It felt like both yesterday and a lifetime ago. My original plans to honor the occasion involved going home after work and . . . well, I had no plans. But then I stopped at a traffic light next to the man selling roses, and an idea instantly formulated in my head. I'd visit her grave. I'd apologize, and in doing so, maybe I'd be set free.

Flowers resting on my passenger seat, I stopped by a booth at the cemetery's entrance for directions. A woman gave me a photocopied map, using a Sharpie to mark the route to Marissa's grave site. I parked and then walked the rest of the way to where she was buried. Her tombstone, a tastefully simple marker, read, Marissa Jones, loving daughter, sister, and friend, and gave her birth and death dates.

"Sorry," I whispered, and set down the flowers.

I stood there for a while, waiting for a sense of peace that didn't come, when someone behind me said, "June?"


From the Hardcover edition.

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Next Thing on My List 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 132 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book kept me up way too late at night -- I couldn't put it down! June Parker is living life in the slow lane. Her job -- as a writer for a carpooling agency -- is uninspiring. Her love life is nonexistent. Her biggest goal is to lose ten pounds. Following a Weight Watchers meeting her life takes a sudden, awful turn: she has a terrible car accident, and her passenger, a young woman she'd met at the meeting, is killed. June discovers a 'life list' in the young woman's possession, detailing all of the things she wanted to accomplish before her twenty-fifth birthday. As a way of coming to terms with her role in the girl's death, June takes on the challenge of competing the list. The list launches June into a series of adventures -- from kissing a stranger to boogie boarding to riding in a helicopter . . . to changing someone's life. In the hands of a less skilled writer, June's progression through the list could have seemed choppy, but Smolinski crafts a tale of one woman's journey of self discovery with page-turning precision. The writing is sharp and funny, the story is original, and the characters are both flawed and believable. This warm-hearted, clever book is truly a standout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book. It was really cute and it surprised me. However, I have to think: Who edited this book?? I found so many spelling and grammatical errors, it started to turn me away from the whole thing. But I am glad I stuck through it. I just wish they would have used spellcheck.
MJG63 More than 1 year ago
This book was an original approach to looking at the question "what are your dreams? Do you think you'll accomplish them?" The main character has survivor guilt over an auto accident that wasn't her fault. Instead of following her dreams she decides to finish the list of dreams that the girl who died had had. She learns much more about herself in the process. I especially liked that the ending wasn't predictable. Does she finish the list? The book was very thought provoking. An added bonus to book groups- the author will join your discussion by phone if you arrange it before hand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up 'The Next thing on my list' and was instantly pulled into character, June's life up & down's. I enjoyed the book thoroughly and felt that there was more than one life lesson to learn from this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very good book. It was light, funny, quick reading 'or listening to', yet made you think about the important things in life. Well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the twists and turns in this book. Once you think she completed something on the list, the task takes on a different meaning. I just couldn't put it down. It didn't end the way I predicted, and that made it even better. I certainly recommend this as a good easy book, that will make you reflect on your own life.
Krissy82 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It was fairly light-hearted, but there was a good message about making the most out of life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually read this book twice. Its really good and sort of inspiring
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in a day. It was the perfect read for New Years as it has inspired me to write a list of things to do thus year. Not just your typical things, but fun things too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
enjoyed the story line. a bit too much profanity just for the sake of throwing it into the mix. wasn't really needed. the story itself was a great concept....
RachelL More than 1 year ago
This book was great - for the first 90%. There was a touching sense of discovery to the entire book and hilarious moments that anyone could identify with ("dare to go braless," anyone?) but the ending was very abrupt and a bit off putting. There was perhaps a bit of foreshadowing that the book was leaning in that direction but not much and I found myself disappointed that there wasn't more of a connecting thread.
chums22 More than 1 year ago
This is a great story, sad but uplifting. I picked it up because it seemed like a cute easy read but it was a truely unique story that makes you stop and take stock of your life and how you want to live it. I have told everyone about it. I loved it from start to finish it had me hooked. You won't regret reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading 3 bad books in a row i really needed to read a Great book! and The next thing on my list was PERFECT! I loved everything about this book! i really got into the main character and i feel like i know her! The best Chick-lit book I have ever read!
lindseyrivers on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Predictable and girly but a fun read. I am even inspired to do my own list!
Jacey25 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The Next Thing on my List is the story of June who is just an average thirty something year old woman who has been drifting through life until the night she gave someone a ride home and killed them.... by accident that is in a car crash. She finds the girl Marissa's list of things to do before turning 25 and eventually becomes inspired to complete the list before her.This was such a fantastic book, it was a great example of the type of chick lit I love in which the heroine changes her life and happens to meet men along the way and date/fall in love or not. Highly Reccomended
butterflybaby on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A book about forgiving yourself and discovering the meaning to living. This book was good overall. June is in an accident that kills her passenger (Marissa). She now must learn to live with that guilt. At first she is depressed, then at the 6 month death anniversary of her passenger she goes to the grave. To come face to face with Marissa's brother. June spontanisly decides to finish the 'List of Things to do by my 25 Birthday'. One of the things on Marissa's list was to change someones life. By the end of the book June realizes that completeing Marissa's list changed her life. I like this book not really because of the characters (I think they could have been a little more developed) but because of the overall story line. After reading this book I was inspried to make my own list.
jedziedz on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A fun and quick read that I had a hard time putting down, this novel is the perfect pick me up. The main character June, is an everyday average single woman who is going through the motions of her own life until a car accident takes the life of a woman she just met. June becomes depressed and uses the list as a way to lighten the guilt she feels over Marissa's death. June is a wonderful character -- frank, funny, and wonderfully good. Throughout her journey, there is a lot of laughter and even some tears as she tries to make more of her life. The writing flows beautifully, the plot is a little outrageous at some points, but the message is clear -- live your life to the fullest.
tipsister on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski is a very sweet book. I didn't know what to expect when I picked it but I'm so happy I did and now, almost a week after finishing the book, I'm still thinking about it.The story is about June Parker. She has a relatively boring life. She works all day and watches TV all night. Her world is small in many ways, and gosh I can relate to that feeling. After offering a fellow "Weight Watcher" a ride home one night, June is in a car accident that killed her passenger. June lets guilt eat away at her until she decides to finish Marissa's list of "25 Things to do Before I'm 25". Even though June is in her thirties. The list has a few simple tasks such as going braless and a few tough ones, such as changing someone's life. By taking chances and putting herself into the world, June discovers who she really is and wants to be.I enjoyed this book from the first page and it even kept me mostly occupied on my recent flights. I find myself challenged to start my own list. 25 has come and is *ahem* long gone for me but I have a birthday coming up in six months. I might just have to write my own list. I'm not sure I can dare to go braless but I think I can come up with some challenges that just might change my life a little.
librarymeg on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This book is an insanely fast read, which is good since I read it from start to finish in one sitting. I didn't have any intention of reading this book when I did, but once I had picked it up to read the first sentence out of pure curiosity, I found myself staying up until 2am to find out what happened. The strange mix of sorrow, guilt, lighthearted humor, and hope was very appealing for a summer read.June Parker, 32 years old, offered a ride to a woman in uncomfortable shoes at her Weight Watchers meeting. Unfortunately, June gets in a car accident which kills the 24 year-old Marissa. To honor Marissa's life, June comes to the decision that she must complete Marissa's list of "20 Things To Do Before My 25th Birthday." Items on the list range from "kiss a stranger" and "get a massage" to "change someone's life" and the most problematic one, "make Buddy Fitch pay."This is a fast and lighthearted book that clearly wants the reader to think about life and what we do with it. There are lots of poignant moments that bring a tear to the eye, and several laugh-out-loud ones. The author plays with our expectations, but in the end delivers a resolution that feels like real change has been experienced. A fun and satisfying book that, while not the best I've ever read, nevertheless has the potential to make people examine their lives and maybe pursue some forgotten dreams.
jo-jo on LibraryThing 25 days ago
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.
gwc on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A humorous and heartfelt novel about remembering the important things in life. It reminded me of Bridgett Jones' Diary in the way that the best made plans never work out like they are imagined.
Thescentoftheirpages on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The book was okay, but not one of my best reads. It was amusing, but it wasn't very well written in my opinion, but it was an easy, light read.
Booklady123 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
June Parker gives a ride to a stranger and it changes her life. The passenger, a young woman named Marissa, is killed in a freak accident, leaving June feeling responsible. When returning Marissa¿s purse to her grieving family, June discovers that Marissa had a list of things she wanted to accomplish by her 25th birthday. June decides that she will finish Marissa¿s list for her. Kissing a total stranger, going braless, and eating ice cream in public are the easy ones. Changing someone else¿s life will be the challenge. Yet, June, with the help of friends and co-workers tackles the list with determination. As she marks things off her list, she discovers it just might be her own life she changes. My book club (The Pikes Peak Bookworms) selected The Next Thing On My List because we wanted a light read after having read two rather dark selections. It was certainly a light, quick read. What I liked about the book: It was easy for me to connect with this book because I am working on my own Life Celebration list. It¿s a feel good story ¿ a welcome break after the rather somber reading I¿ve been doing the last several months. The pacing was just perfect for a summer beach read. And though the book does make you think about your life and where it¿s going, it¿s not so deep that it feels like ¿assigned reading.¿ Smolinski has a light, witty writing style that will appeal to most readers, especially those who enjoy ¿Chick Lit.¿ The author includes discussion questions at the back of the book along with activities to help readers create their own list. Since this is a book club read, I found this to be rather helpful. What I didn¿t like about the book: I didn¿t like the romantic twist at the end. Not that this takes away from the book. It just didn¿t end the way I expected or had hoped. However, upon reflection, Smolinski did include clues about where the romance was going. I just failed to pick up on them. If you enjoy Chick Lit or if you are looking for a quick, easy read for travel or the beach, this is a book you should slip into your travel/beach tote.
bolgai on LibraryThing 25 days ago
** spoiler alert ** This is exactly the kind of book I enjoy - light, funny, real and with some deep-running undercurrents. The realness of it all was probably the best part. So often in fiction everything happens just like the protagonist plans it, a couple of snags along the way but in the end all dreams come true. Here things do work out, but not quite how June thought she wanted them to, which in itself is so real. She wants to date the hot guy who appears to want to date her, but... as soon as she tells him about her plans to adopt a baby fire turns to ice and he's not so eager any more. A teenager pregnant after a one-night stand, a child preparing to have a child; she is so grown up in planning to quit her regular classes and thinking about the realities of having to take care of a baby but at the same time she gets thrilled at the prospect of make-up and new clothes. A thirty-something woman seething in her cubicle when she gets passed over for the promotion she was waiting for. A middle-aged woman hiding the pain of losing her daughter and the fears of not being able to mend the ties behind the tough facade of a biker. A couple who have been trying to have a baby for years and who must face that nothing is working, leaving them broken-hearted and exhausted. The guy who at first comes across as extremely obnoxious and even disgusting turns out to be a genuinely good person, even if rough around the edges. The best of it though for me was the last chapter, when June has finished someone else's list and is beginning her own, beginning her own life after years of going with the flow and not taking her life into her own hands. She's sitting there and she still doesn't know what to put on that list, what it is she wants. She's just like so many of those of us who are great at following instructions but not necessarily writing them, even for ourselves. And yet she's gotten a taste of what it's like to finish something and what it's like to keep trying regardless of how far this trying takes her out of the cocoon of her comfort zone so she writes something down and surprises even herself with what it is. She'll do it too, I know it. There's plenty of laughs in this book. In fact I giggled through it, all the while thinking about these people who inspired June and Deedee and Bob and Troy and Marissa. They're out there, eating at restaurants, driving cars, making mistakes and trying new things. To me fiction is life, disguised as make-believe for the benefit of entertainment but it's all real, it all happened somewhere to someone to some degree. Even if the story is undeniably fantasy, there's real people in there underneath the blue skin and fur and antennae. Here Ms. Smolinski simply didn't go as far as antennae, she stopped at making them all real and you know when an author has done a good job when the next morning you're still thinking about the twists and turns and the outcome. I finished the book last night. Today mid-morning my text to a friend read "I still can't get over June and Martucci and that the girl didn't even call her to tell her she decided to not give up the baby!!". Enough said.
matlock.sarah on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I read this book in less than 5 hours. I say this with certainty since I was on an airplane while I read it. The topics were both heavy and enjoyable. The characters were likable. The real victory of this novel is what the reader takes away from the reading. By the time I got to the end, I definitely felt like revising my own list! More importantly, I felt motivated to actually DO the things I've had on my list. Definitely recommend this one, especially as a quick but meaningful read on a bus or plane trip.