Think about your life.
If you found a way to go back in time to some point in it, would you try to change anything? Would you take advantage of the chance for a do-over? Perhaps swallow some angry words you've always wished you could take back?
Or would you leave things just as they are?
I've been thinking about that as I read Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster for the BlogHer Book Club.
For years I said I had no regrets, that I wouldn't change a thing if I had the chance because of my wonderful husband and kids. I've had my share of downs, but overall, I love my life. I'm blessed and I know it.
But the truth is I do have some regrets, and if I had the chance, I'd high-tail it back to the fall of 1977, breakup with my then-boyfriend and attend all of my college classes, instead of driving to Galveston and moping on the seawall about how bad things were in my life right then. (Why do some of us do that, make bad situations worse by creating new problems for ourselves?)
Without the distraction of a cheating boyfriend chipping away at my self-esteem, and by keeping up with my classes, I think dropping out a year later would never have crossed my mind.
I would still have met Tom, because I believe it was part of God's plan for us to be together. (I don't think it was His original plan for me to drop out - I think He just cleaned up what I messed up. He's good at that. Lots of practice, unfortunately.)
With a Chemical Engineering degree in hand, I could still have gone to work at the DuPont chemical plant, where I made so many great friends.
But since I'm not a character in a novel like Lissy Ryder, the main character of Here I go Again who does get a chance for a do-over, I'll just give thanks that God is able to make the best of our bad decisions if we let Him.
Lissy is a former high school mean girl, all grown up and dealing with the fruits of her lifelong sharp tongue and selfish ways. She is forced to move back in to her childhood home when her husband files for divorce and she loses her Public Relations job.
Her twenty-year high school reunion approaches and, when she sees that many of her former classmates are huge successes, she gets the idea of starting her own PR company and soliciting business at the reunion.
Unfortunately, but understandably, all of her classmates despise her. Even her sweet, long-suffering best friend Nicole finally dumps her on one of those former classmates when Lissy gets drunk at the reunion.
But thanks to that classmate, Lissy is able to relive a few weeks of her high school senior year, where she makes better decisions and manages to be a kinder, gentler version of her previous seventeen-year-old self.
Waking up in the new present, she's pleased to find that everything has gone her way this time. She's rich, the owner of a highly successful PR company, and still happily married.
Of course, the butterfly effect being what it is, everything isn't as great as it seems at first...but I won't divulge anymore in case you decide to read it yourself, which I think you should just because it's so funny.
I did have a few issues with it:
- Lancaster implies that all Homecoming and Prom Queens are mean snobs. As a former Homecoming and Prom Queen, I disagree. (I hope my classmates do, too!)
- She says (through Lissy) that having children makes you look old before your time. Obviously, I disagree with that, as well.
- A few plot parts felt manipulated. My critique group would have torn those apart.
- Other than Lissy and her mother, the dialogue and characters were indistinctive.
- Oh, and for some reason one character ends up bald after Lissy's trip back in time because in the new future he's in a bad marriage. Huh?
But overall I enjoyed it. It kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. I felt it was thought provoking, triggering a lot of what-ifs.
And, as I said, it was just funny! Lissy is telling the story and her running commentary is bold and hilarious. I laughed enough that I forgave Lancaster for assuming I must be a mean snob since I was voted Homecoming Queen.
If you get a chance to read it, I think you'll enjoy it. If nothing else, you'll give thanks your high school years are behind you.
What about you? Is there anything you would change if you could travel back in time?
P.S. This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are totally my own. Join the discussions on the book here.