Sunday, May 29, 2016

Review: The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke


Having recently turned 42 (gasp!), the title The Year We Turned Forty caught my eye, the blurb grabbed my attention, and when I settled down to read about Claire and Jessie and Gabriela their chance to go back in time was one that I found very interesting. As I read about their lives as they approached 50--their regrets, their secrets, their acceptance, and their successes--it made me think about how much could change with the chance to erase 10 years of your life. What good would come of it, what bad would come of it, and how would life be different if you could go back? The answers to these questions seemed to be the thesis of this novel and were the questions I kept asking myself as I read about all of the adjustments to their 'old' lives when they were given a second chance. For every problem they tried to fix from their past, it seemed like a new challenge came with it. For every cringe-worthy moment--and there were many--there were opportunities to finally get some things 'right'. And while there were many moments when what was happening seemed far worse than how their first chance at 40 went, it was gratifying to see how much they learned about themselves and the people they learned as they worked through this year. I don't know that anything was necessarily unexpected by the end but I don't think I needed there to be for me to get what I wanted out of this book: a chance to really think about what could happen with a chance to time travel and what we can learn from Claire, Jessie, and Gabriela. As I sit here with my mind spinning from all that they went through and where they ended up, I know many people will walk away with different things that they related to or thought about with these characters and so what have a learned from them? Simply put, a lot. 

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Read more about it here:

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Thingsand Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he's getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she's recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

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