Title: The Life List
Author: Lori Nelson Spielman
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook download through Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program
Audiobook reader: Rebecca Gibel
Audiobook length: 11 hours and 33 minutes
First line: Voices from the dining room echo up the walnut staircase, indistinct, buzzing, intrusive.
Goodreads blurb: 1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love
Brett Bohlinger has forgotten all about the list of life goals she’d written as a naïve teenager. In fact, at thirty-four, Brett seems to have it all—a plum job at her family’s multimillion-dollar company and a spacious loft with her irresistibly handsome boyfriend. But when her beloved mother, Elizabeth, passes away, Brett’s world is turned upside down. Rather than simply naming her daughter the new CEO of Bohlinger Cosmetics, Elizabeth’s will comes with one big stipulation: Brett must fulfill the list of childhood dreams she made so long ago.
Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision. Some of her old hopes seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other dreams (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. For each goal attempted, her mother has left behind a bittersweet letter, offering words of wisdom, warmth, and—just when Brett needs it—tough love.
As Brett struggles to complete her abandoned life list, one thing becomes clear: Sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.
I almost stopped listening to this book after the first hour or so of audio. Not because of the narrator, Rebecca Gibel, who does a very good job of voicing Brett’s story, but because I could tell that it was going to be very predictable. Brett’s character took a good long while to grow on me, too. And while this didn’t turn out to be a “loved it!” book, it did entertain me and I’m glad I kept listening.
Predictable isn’t always bad in a book, right? Certain books are designed to end a certain way – with the boy getting the girl, or the girl getting the job, etc. But then there’s the kind of predictable that gets a bit old. I experienced this several times while listening to The Life List. There were three very specific plot points that I saw coming long before the character did – and that annoyed me. But, like I said, the author did keep me interested enough to want to hear how she wrapped things up, even though I knew pretty much how everything would end.
I think of books like this as comfort reading. Like comfort food, they are good occasionally, their familiarity means very little effort needs to be expended, and they satisfy at the right time. I wouldn’t want a steady diet of them, though.