Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lilian on Life by Alison Jean Lester (Review)

Adult, Womens Fiction, Contemporary, Chick Lit
Publication.Date  January 13th 2015
Published By:  Putnam
AuthorAlison Jean Lester

Lilian on Life on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher via First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

"I absolutely loved Lillian on Life." —Kate Atkinson
"I found it full of life and full of wisdom.” —Erica Jong

Smart, poignant, funny, and totally original, Lillian on Life is as fresh and surprising as fiction gets.
This is the story of Lillian, a single woman reflecting on her choices and imagining her future. Born in the Midwest in the 1930s; Lillian lives, loves, and works in Europe in the fifties and early sixties; she settles in New York and pursues the great love of her life in the sixties and seventies. Now it’s the early nineties, and she’s taking stock. Throughout her life, walking the unpaved road between traditional and modern choices for women, Lillian grapples with parental disappointment and societal expectations, wins and loses in love, and develops her own brand of wisdom. Lillian on Life lifts the skin off the beautiful, stylish product of an era to reveal the confused, hot-blooded woman underneath.


Do some people not need excitement? I've always thought humans were too complicated not to need stimulation. What does Michael do to keep his wife hanging on? Or what does she do that keeps him married to her? I don' like to ask. I've learned not to cling. 
So many people say that everything happens for a reason. I've always felt that things happen because the things before them happens, That's all.
I never tire of the wind when driving, and I love the amazement you feel that it's suddenly so peaceful  when you stop. I hope that is what death is lie. Peaceful when you stop.
It's unfortunate how we have to cripple ourselves for love, but it's a fact. We have to.
When you're in a relationship you mold yourself to it. You curve your body around it and you curve your mind around it, in order to maintain it. Sometimes you don't realize you're crippled until it's too late. 

     In her incredibly smart and poignant first novel, Alison Jean Lester touches upon a variety of subjects including love, beauty, loneliness, abortion, independence, sexuality and difficult yet often times necessary choices that ripple throughout our lives like waves on a dark blue ocean. This remarkably clever and richly tasting story will resonate with mature female audiences all around the world. I do believe it requires a seasoned and experienced reader of certain age to be fully enjoyed and appreciated, though I think even younger women (around the age of 20) will find Lilian's voice fascinating and positively endearing

     This book is constructed as a compilation of meditations - or reflections, if you will - as Lilian is looking back on her life, re-living certain pivoting moments of it and sharing her wisdom with us, the readers. We hear about her love life, her relationships and struggles, her hopes, goals and dreams, and we learn more and more about this intelligent, passionate yet emotionally unfulfilled woman with every chapter. It's quite an illuminating and emotionally powerful read, filled with moments of true beauty and real heartbreak. 

     I really enjoyed Lilian's strong and clear voice. She's a firecracker - full of passion, desire and purpose. I admired her, though I often felt sad for her too. Her life was as far from boring as it gets, filled with travel to Europe, sex, love and glamour, and yet, in many ways, it was also kind of empty and depressing. The things she does, the choices she makes... They are necessary decisions, but also ones that come at a certain price. It was very interesting to read about Lilian and see how her life turned out. A fascinating and thought-provoking journey through one woman's life. 

     Lilian on Life is genuinely intriguing and exhilarating story, full of meaning and hope. Lilian's witty narration makes for a very entertaining and relatable read, and her spot-on observations are ones I enjoyed analyzing. Lilian is brutally honest at times, gentle and sentimental at others, but all throughout the book she remains real and straightforward. I loved getting to know her and I'm sure you will, too.

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