Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: The Life You've Imagined

* Marathon Madness Monday will post on Wednesday this week as I am reviewing another book for TLC Book Tours today!

I received an advanced reader's copy of "The Life You've Imagined" by Kristina Riggle. I know this is super dorky, but I love ARCs! I think it's so cool that I get to check something out that isn't available to everyone! I read this book in the span of 3 days - it's 334 pages so the fact that I read it so quickly is worth noting! The title of the book is inspired by a quote by Henry David Thoreau: "Go Confidently in the direction of your dreams. Life the life you have imagined." In this book, we meet Cami, Maeve, Anna, and Amy; each character takes turns narrating the story. I think changing narrators each chapter is what made the book so engaging for me. I like it when the author shows us the perspective of multiple characters - but does so in a way that doesn't confuse the reader.

Cami has escaped to Haven, Michigan after the relationship with her boyfriend crashes and burns. She moves back in with her abusive father and while their relationship seems irreparable, her goal is to learn more about her mother that passed away when Cami was young.

Maeve runs a small convenience store in Haven, Michigan and is still haunted by the fact that her husband walked out the door without looking back many, many years ago. She stills wears her wedding ring on a chain around her neck and has struggled to accept that her life has turned out vastly different than she imagined.

Anna is the daughter of Maeve. She returns to Haven while on bereavement leave after a colleague passes away. While back in Haven, she begins to spend time with her high school flame and begins to wonder what might have been had she not broken up with him.

Amy went to school with Cami and Anna and has gone through a physical metamorphosis. She has lost quite a bit of weight and is engaged to be married. While she tells herself that "every thin day is a good day" she is beginning to see that losing weight wasn't the answer to all of her problems.

Throughout the novel, the characters all try to come to terms with where they are and how they thought their lives would turn out. I've talked about this before, but I definitely had a 'vision' of how my life would turn out. My life has turned out vastly different - it's not worse than what I had pictured, it's just different. Sometimes I struggle with letting go of that vision I had, but as I get older, I am getting better and better about accepting, embracing, and celebrating the way my life has turned out.

The book was released last Tuesday so is now available. It was a light, easy read that I really enjoyed. The book references Thoreau's book, Walden, a couple of times so it makes me really want to check that book out!

16 comments:

Lisa-Marie said...

This one sounds interesting, the characters sound quite diverse.

I'll put it on the to read list!

Kyla Roma said...

Oh interesting! I might have to pick this up - ARCs are so cool! My MIL used to work at a book store where they got them all the time, it always made them feel a little more special :)

Emily Jane said...

This sounds very interesting! And I was contacted by TLC Book Tours this weekend and now I know where I've heard the name before! :)

PS! Did you get anything in the mail yet?

Nora said...

Definitely sounds like a good read! I love books that are engaging and have changing narrators; makes it a little bit more fun =)

pinkflipflops said...

This one is on my tbr list. I really like it when there are multiple perspectives.

brookem said...

sounds interesting! am i the only one who doesn't know what an ARC is? oops!

also, i came to congratulate you on your 18 miler! i read that you accomplished yours this weekend over on nilsa's blog. what a good feeling, right? i did mine yesterday! for some reason i can't link to my running blog here, but if you want to check it out it's www.runningwithoutheels.wordpress.com :)

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Oh I really like books that change narrators throughout. Definitely keeps things more interesting!!

Also, very cool you get to read books before they even hit the shelf!!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

This sounds like a great book - I love fiction that has real life application.

Sassy Molassy said...

Sounds like a pretty interesting read. THanks!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Sounds like a great book. I totally agree with you that I like when the author tells the perspective of different characters. I am reading Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin right now and it's narrated by 2 different characters, like you said it's nice to not be confused by it :)

Cherry Blossoms said...

Sounds like a great book. I will have to suggest this book at my next book club meeting.

Abby said...

I really want to read this. I love books that switch the character throughout. I always end up really picking a "favorite".

I think we all end up having lives that turn out different. It's easy for us to criticize our current life -- when we focus on comparing it to what we thought life would be like.

Good review!

Kristina said...

Thank you for the thoughtful and lovely review! I'm honored.

Kristina Riggle

Mandy said...

I am excited to read this, and I'm with you on ARC's. Its a perk of writing reviews, no?

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Ooooh, this book sounds good! I love ARC's too, but I have never received one directly from a publisher or author to review. I have just won a few in contests. How do you get them?

Heather J. @ TLC Books said...

I think many people (myself included) have a "big plan" for life but I don't know anyone who's plan has actually come true. This sounds like a fabulous book for exploring that subject!

Thanks for being a part of the tour. :)