Monday, August 9, 2010

Julie's Review: The One That I Want

Summary: What if you woke up one day to all your dreams coming true...but those dreams were more like nightmares? Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a school guidance counselor, trying for a baby. Perfect. But one sweltering afternoon at the local fair, everything changes. Tilly wanders into a fortune teller's tent and meets an old childhood friend, who offers her more than just a reading. "I'm giving you the gift of clarity," her friend says. "It's what I always thought you needed." And soon enough, Tilly starts seeing things: her alcoholic father relapsing, staggering out of a bar with his car keys in hand; her husband uprooting their happy, stable life, a packed U-Haul in their driveway. And even more disturbing, these visions start coming true. Suddenly Tilly's perfect life, so meticulously mapped out, seems to be crumbling around her. And as she furiously races to keep up with - and hopefully change - her destiny, she faces the question: Which life does she want? The one she's carefully nursed for decades, or the one she never considered possible? What if you could see into the future? Would you want to know what fate has in store?

Review: It is rare for me not to like the main character but yet truly enjoy the book. Tilly Farmer is whiny, stuck, and lying to herself but yet she comes off as holier than thou in the beginning of the book. The One That I Want is an intriguing story of one women's flash forwards of her life but not as she wants it to happen but as it's going to happen. As Tilly continues to have these visions, she feels her life spiraling out of control. Essentially, Tilly has lived in the same town her whole life and with a carefully crafted life. She married her high school sweetheart and they are trying for a baby. Life for Tilly is perfect, exactly like she wants it. That is all about to change.

What the book shows us is maybe the life we are so comfortable in, isn't really comfortable with us. Maybe it's time to shake things up again. All of Tilly's flash forwards seemed to have a negative impact and some of them did...initially, but in the end things turned out OK if not better for her.

I always say that when people say their life is perfect, that either it is for them or they aren't really seeing what is going on around them. I think Tilly saying she was so happy was her wall for truly letting people see how vulnerable she was, even those closest to her.

The story might not have been my favorite but I did appreciate the way Ms. Winn Scotch writes her novels. I loved that in order to give her character clarity to her life she chose to do it in an unconventional way. Well at least I've never read a book with flash forwards. There were a couple of quotes that I really liked:

...that life is limitless, that fear is conquerable, that if you stay concealed in the shadows, you'll never be seen. That spending the better part of your days trying to fix people might be admirable; no, in fact, it is admirable, but only when you're not doing so to avoid fixing yourself. page 252

There is before. And then there is after. Happiness is what you chose, what you follow, not what follows you. page 270

I did like the other characters in the book including Darcy, Susie and Ashley. Tilly has dealt with a lot in her life but she also took on a lot at a young age. Maybe her life would have been slightly different if she learned to lean on others.

Plus the title is a tie-in to one of my all time favorite movies/musicals.

I will be buying Ms. Winn-Scotch's Time of My Life: A Novel
and reading it soon.

I received The One That I Want from Read it Forward.

Final Take: 3.75/5



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