Willa Chandler-Golden’s father changed the world with his self-help bestseller, Is It Really Your Choice? Why Your Entire Life May Be Out of Your Control. Millions of devoted fans now find solace in his notion that everything happens for a reason. Though Willa isn’t entirely convinced of her father’s theories, she readily admits that the universe has delivered her a solid life: a reliable husband, a fast-paced career. Sure there are hiccups – negative pregnancy tests, embattled siblings – but this is what the universe has brought, and life, if she doesn’t think about it too much, is wonderful.
Then her (evidently not-so-reliable) husband proposes this: A two-month break. Two months to see if they can’t live their lives without each other. And before Willa can sort out destiny and fate and what it all means, she’s axed from her job, her 12 year-old nephew Nicky moves in, her ex-boyfriend finds her on Facebook, and her best friend Vanessa lands a gig writing for Dare You!, the hottest new reality TV show. And then Vanessa lures Willa into dares of her own – dares that run counter to her father’s theories of fate, dares that might change everything…but only if Willa is brave enough to stop listening to the universe and instead aim for the stars.” ~ Goodreads
I LOVE THIS BOOK!! It has everything that appeals to me and my cerebral/bookish self:
*A woman in her thirties trying to gain a sense of herself when thrown a curve ball.
* A main character who is flawed and you want to root for.
*A dysfunctional family that is quirky and hilarious.
*Supporting characters that are SO WELL developed that they jump off of the page and you can vision them cast in a movie (If you’ve read this…how much did you love Willa’s mother, nephew Nicky and Yogi (guru to the stars) brother Ollie?!?)
*The “blast from the past” love interest….”The One That Got Away” and all that romance goodness.
*Supportive best friend that constantly has your back while getting you to live your best life.
*Dialogue, glorious dialogue!!!
*Relatable, contemporary, social issues:
On Facebook: “I stare at my screen and wait for the little red indicator lights to blip at the top, blipping to show me how much my friends like me. Like me, really, really, like me!”
*Laugh out loud moments while having scenes that were tender and heartbreaking.
*Quotes, phrases, comments, poignant parts that scream off of the page and had me highlighting like a fool:
“Motherhood is like this: a series of tiny moments that add up to an enormous love, with lots of other moments of frustration and misunderstanding and complexity woven in between.”
*My favorite life debate: Destiny vs. Choice; Fate vs. Free Will; The “It Is What It Is” and “Everything Happens For A Reason” vs. “Writing Your Own Map” (as the book mentions)
“Take the path of least resistance, if we embrace inertia, if we never leap, if we never accept accountability for our choices, how can we find triumph in our victories or any remorse in our losses?”
I can’t believe that I have never read anything by this author. I don’t even remember how I came across this book. It was a purchase on my Kindle app; maybe a fluke, a sale item for $2.99, a recommendation? It doesn’t matter because it was excellent, wonderful, inspiring, hilarious, romantic - just a wonderful read especially on the cusp of a new year. The mantra of “writing my own map” will carry me into 2014, as it will be the year I turn 40 and contemplate taking new paths in my career, taking new risks, in the way I live my life and in the company I keep:
“…its comes down to this: that the best way not to be lost is to be your own map.”
I have to stop writing because I will continue to quote way too many lines from the text and looking back through my highlighted kindle copy makes me want to re-read it and re-live the story. But I can’t because I have one last book to get through before we move into 2014. One that has “Mr. Darcy” in its’ title and is calling me to log-off of the computer right now…