Wednesday 14 August 2013

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

Brett's Life List

1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love

Brett Bohlinger seems to have it all: a plum job, a spacious loft, an irresistibly handsome boyfriend. All in all, a charmed life. 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 a na├»ve girl of fourteen. 

Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision—her childhood dreams don’t resemble her ambitions at age thirty-four in the slightest. Some seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other goals (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. 

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.

I already tweeted my first thoughts about this novel, but I will say them again. Wow, just wow! I have never felt so heart warmed and felt like I've come alive from a novel before. This was truly amazing!

Also the cover is absolutely stunning! The cover designer Sarah Gibb definitely deserves a mention here! Beautiful! You instantly want to pick it up.

Brett has just lost her Mum; her absolute rock. Expecting to inherit her Mother's company, Bohlinger Cosmetics, Brett finds that her Mother has other plans for her. Brett must complete the goals she set herself when she was 14. These tasks include typical 14 year old life aspirations like get a horse and perform live on stage, not dreams that Brett has for herself now at 34! But Brett has to complete them all within one year if she is to receive her inheritance. Brett can't understand why her Mother is doing this to her, her life was fine as it was before and she was happy; wasn't she?

I really liked Brett as the main character and I felt like I could relate to her in some way when she was trying to convince herself that she was happy with the way things were, and it was just her that had the problem. I also loved the relationship that she had with her Mum and really felt her complete devastation at losing her. I have an extremely close relationship with my Mum, so knew exactly what she was feeling as I would feel the same. Even though Brett was furious with her Mum at first for forcing Brett to come out of her comfort zone, we and Brett start to realise that her Mum knew Brett more than Brett knew herself and she really did have Brett's best interests at heart.

The surrounding characters like Brad and Carrie really add to this story as well. Brett meets some amazing people along the way and Brett's character transformation is so wonderful and believable. You will root for Brett the whole way and be just as happy as her, if a little sad, to get to read the messages that her Mum has for her every time she accomplishes a goal.

The Life List is also an extremely thought provoking novel. I definitely reflected on my own life in this and it made me realise that a decision I made fairly recently; although extremely difficult, was the right one. I thought it was making me happy, but in reality it really wasn't and this is what Brett begins to realise when everything that she thought made her happy is taken away from her.

I got completely swept up in this novel, I was so immersed in the storyline and just had to keep turning the pages, I physically could not put it down. Most of my time spent reading is on the train and so many times I would suddenly jolt out of the novel and have to take a second to remember where I was and where I was going; I was that taken away.

I can't quite believe that this is a debut novel! It is so beautifully written. I will definitely be looking out for more from Lori. I had a serious book hangover after this! I could not stop thinking about it!

If you take one thing away from this novel, take this: Life is too short; go and do what truly makes you happy :)

A big thank you to Arrow publishing for sending this to me. Look out for a give-away coming soon!



  1. Completely sold! This is on my TBR and cannot wait now!

    1. Fantastic! Look out for my future give-away as well :)

    2. Thanks, Kate! I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Thanks so much for this fantastic review, Laura! I'm absolutely thrilled that the book touched you as it did. So happy about your difficult--but correct--decision.

    1. I want the whole world to read it! They have to, I'm going to make them ;). And thanks Lori, I need books like this in my life to help me :)

  3. This sounds like a really interesting self discovery book. You have got me wanting to read another book Laura!

    1. Oh it is AMAZING! I can't stop talking about it! Haha sorry *lies* ;)

    2. oh and I mean I'm lying about being sorry that you have another book to read :)

  4. Isnt it great when you find a real feel good book that you want to share with the whole world. Great review.


    1. It really is! Love it when it happens :) thanks Carol