Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

Title: The Life List  
Author: Lori Nelson Spielman 
Published: July 2013, Bantam
Format: Paperback, 368 pages  
Source: Personal copy  

In this utterly charming debut — one woman sets out to complete her old list of childhood goals, and finds that her lifelong dreams lead her down a path she never expects.

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, dies, 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.

My thoughts: This is a beautiful and sweet debut novel by Lori Nelson Spielman and I enjoyed it immensely. I love books that make me think about what I would do if I were in the main character's position and in this case, the recurring thought I had while reading this was what would be on my life list if I were to make one.

I was immediately taken to the character of Brett - not that I always agreed with all her choices or loved everything about her, but there was just something about her that resonated with me. She still stands out in my mind as a character that makes me think about the choices I make in to me, that's all due to the writing of Lori Nelson Spielman.

This book is light-hearted and fun, with some tender and sweet moments along the way. There are some surprises thrown in - the biggest being what Brett's mom left her when she died. As Brett tries to fulfill her mom's wishes, she actually finds her "true" self along the way. Some of the ways she goes about completing the list are predictable and some are quite surprising, but in the end, it's a very sweet story. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what comes next from this author!

I never really made a life list but now am thinking I just might. Did you ever make one?



  1. I could definitely see myself curled up with this book! I hadn't heard of it before, so thank you for bring it to my attention!

    1. It's really good - hope you do end up picking it up!

  2. I have never made a life list. This book does sound like it would be a nice read.

  3. I've never made such a list but the story sounds lovely. Terrific review, Kristin. You've given me enough details to let me know that I'd enjoy the book.

    1. I hope you do pick it up - it's quite an enjoyable read!!!

  4. Thanks for the lovely review, Kristin! I'm honored that you read it and so glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Lori!!! I really did enjoy this and look forward to seeing what comes next for you!!

  5. Great review. This is on my wish list already, so it's great to see a review of it. :)

    1. Oh - I can't wait to hear what you think of it when you get to it!


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