The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

I haven’t heard of this book until recently. I just happened to come across a tweet of one blogger praising this book and it caught my attention enough to be curious of the plot. Hence, I checked its ratings and reviews on Goodreads and other blogs which greatly influence my decision to get a copy of my own immediately. Without a second thought, I bought this book at The Book Depository.

Here’s the synopsis from the back cover of the book:

The Life List coverThings to do when I grow up:

  1. 1. Have a baby
  2. 2. Fall in love
  3. 3. Perform live on a super-big stage

Brett Bohlinger seems to have it all: a plum job, a beautiful home and an irresistibly handsome boyfriend. That is, until her beloved mother passes away, leaving behind a will with one big stipulation: In order to receive her inheritance, Brett must first complete the life list of goals she’d written when she was fourteen.

As Brett reluctantly embarks on a perplexing journey in search of her adolescent dreams, one thing becomes clear: sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.

Imagine your thirty-something self pursuing the remaining life goals you wrote as a teenager, would you see yourself doing it? And possibly, attaining each goal successfully? I was not much into writing long bucket lists during my adolescent years or even now, but the concept of the story seems far-fetched. But at the same time, sparks my curiosity even more. In Brett’s case, it’s intriguing to find out how attaining her teenage life goals would gain her anything, as part of her mother’s death wish, which will be the key to her fruitful future…and inheritance.

At the beginning of the story, readers are already faced with a death of a certain character. And this death will change the course of Brett’s life, unbeknownst to her. The question now is, will Brett give in to her mother’s wishes? As I am reading through the first part of the book, I can’t imagine myself being in Brett’s shoes. Her mother’s wishes are far from what Brett hopes for and it’s hard to accept if her mother is really serious with her requests. Despite the dilemma, the fun part of the book begins when Brett finally accepts the challenge and is required to achieve the remaining life goals in one year.

The Life List centers on Brett’s life and is told in her point of view. From the moment I open the book, I’m already greeted with waves of emotions. Brett’s feelings definitely reach into my heart as I could feel how genuine her emotions are. Spielman really knows how to immerse her readers in this book. On the one hand, how she comes up with the storyline is very imaginative and unique. On the other hand, how Brett reacts to the situations presented to her is also realistic. Readers could easily relate to her and sympathize with her. As I am reading through the book, I come to love her character. She’s portrayed as someone who is mature, independent, and easy to approach.

I like how the flow of the story comes out naturally and that it doesn’t mainly focus on romance. I’m impressed with Spielman’s approach on the story in relation to the depth of mother-daughter relationship and how this affects Brett’s decision. Moreover, Spielman doesn’t force her story to be always a happy ending. This is shown through the outcomes of all the remaining life goals Brett tries to fulfil. And as the story progresses, readers could see the development in Brett’s character and how her life goals have reshaped her passion and her very being.

I’m truly amazed with this book. Spielman’s writing style never bores me and it keeps me entertained throughout. The Life List is about rediscovering oneself and finding true happiness. This book is a perfect example of the saying: Money can’t buy you happiness. And while this doesn’t center on romance, the book will make one reflect his own life. Spielman is also able to show that it doesn’t take a perfect person to make one’s life complete, that it merely takes the right person to make everything fit. I’m happy I decided to read this book. I truly gained a lot of life-changing insights from it. Full of twists and unexpected outcomes, The Life List deserves a five-star rating.


About Rhin

Expression through words. Finding contentment in the simple things in life. Embracing opportunities. Daring to live her dream. View all posts by Rhin

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