Monday, June 13, 2011

THE LIST. Plus Two More Lists of My Own.

I read this book quite awhile ago...almost the second it came out. Why? Because my friend wrote it. And because I adore her, it had to be good! 

I'll be honest — Initially I had the hardest time getting over the idea that the main character had supposedly been a missionary, and yet she was SO SHALLOW.  In fact, I tried as hard as I could not to like the main character, because she was too pretty, and too knew-she-was-pretty, and then, you know, the shallow thing.  I spent about 2/3 of the book being mad at this person who doesn't even exist! But then I kept not being able to not like her (yeah, I rock double negatives when I have to) because she is also SO FUNNY. Like laugh-out-loud, clever, Gilmore Girls funny. I was totally sucked in. I couldn't put it down.

So what fuels the plot is sort of a bucket list—a list of all the things she solidly MUST DO before she gets married. (And again, some of these items are respectable, and others are completely shallow, like Get A Sports Car.) And the list has this power over her that is other-worldly. I kept thinking, Wait — you wouldn't PRAY about finding the right guy, and try to listen to the spirit? Something that makes more sense in my world? So I also tried not to like The List itself. (Not the book. Just the list.)

And then I realized that, list or not, I had checked off a majority of the exact same items myself before I got married. So I mentally started checking off The List. And then I pulled out some sticky notes and started writing in my own checkmarks, and here's what I came up with:

Items on The List I Somehow Managed to Check Off Myself Before I Got Married:  
(even though I didn't have a List, per se)
1. Climb a mountain: Check - Angel's Landing
2. See a show on Broadway: Check, plus one better: two shows in London
3. Sing Karaoke: Didn't exist back then?
4. Read all the standard works: Check
5. Get a master's Degree: Nope.
6. Study Abroad: Check
7. Serve a mission: Check (although it seems sort of glib and irreverent to check off something as life-changing as a mission.)
8. Learn to make sushi: Almost. I had an offer.
9. Own a pair of Louboutins: Never heard of 'em
10. Complete a triathlon: No.
11. Snowboard on a black diamond trail: No (snowboarding wasn't even born yet)
12. Read a Russian classic: Check
13. Learn to surf: No desire. I saw the gory goose-egg my dad got surfing!
14. Visit Europe: Check
15. Do an (overseas) humanitarian project: Still my lifelong dream...I even have a savings account devoted to it
16. Get a sports car: Check (Toyota Celica—looked like a speeding bullet)
17. Have a summer fling: Check  (During #6, above)
18. Take a cruise: Was supposed to be our honeymoon, but we cashed it in and did the I-15 honeymoon instead...St George, Las Vegas, Los Angeles...
19. Skydive: No desire. (Plus, Im rather fond of being alive.)
20. Learn a foreign language: Check
21. Publish a poem: Check
22. Learn to play guitar: Nope (I wish)
23. Be a movie extra: Check. (Does a student film count?)
24. Try internet dating: Didn't exist...
25. Learn to tango. Check (sort of)

So? I surrendered. In a big, big way. And now I proudly present:

Lounging in Laguna, by Jana Winters Parkin
25 Things I love about The List: (The whole book)
1.  Star Wars Band-Aid 
(plus the first line that cracked me up: "Nice band-aid.")
2.  Naturally curly hair that doesn't always cooperate

3.  Not a blonde bimbo
4.  Gilmore Girls-esque dialogue
5.  Megan's colored pencils
6.  Frayed shorts
7.  Awkward wetsuit dance
8.  Witty comebacks I wish I 
had said
9.  Laguna Beach
10. The fascinating deaf girl (especially knowing where Melanie got the inspiration for her.)
11. "Dude, nice doilies!" (hahaha!)
12. "Insincerity dripped like venom from her invisible fangs."
13. "I surrender the title of Loser Magnet. It's yours."
14. "Chasing after babies in a full body cast seems like an awful lot of trouble."
15.  Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter: "Your cereal's gross." 
16. "You can't have any no matter how nicely you ask."
17. "That's why I'm a dictatorship of one."
18. "Come over to the dark side." (brunette
19.  Hiding chocolate behind wheat germ
20. Hallelujah chorus
21. "It was exhausting to miss him so much."
22. Kenny! 
23. And his band!
24. Kissing and more kissing
25. Redemption

And see? there were so many, I didn't even have to add: My friend wrote it! (I'm so excited for her.)
So...What should top your vacation packing list?
The List. By Melanie Jacobson. Perfect Summer Read. 

(And she doesn't even know I'm posting this!)

p.s. Summer is now in session!


LisAway said...

What a great review and a wonderful friend you are. Seriously, this is so much fun!

I agree with so much of your commentary on Ashley's character. I did plenty of ugh-ing, but the story was just so fun with all the excellent dialogue that I, like you, I think, was able to just switch it off and ulimately see the book for what it is (and what Melanie has told us she was going for): A very fun, light read. And one that I recommend to everyone. :)

LisAway said...

Sorry, I wanted to so that it's not just the dialogue that is great, the writing itself is fab and full of laugh out loud moments, even just because of the way she words otherwise normal things.

Also, I loved reading all the things you could have checked off before your wedding. And all the things that didn't exist. :)

Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, yes! I bought myself a copy last month and have been keeping it as a little carrot to help me get through some hard chores. THAT particular list is almost all checked off, so I can dig into The List very shortly!

GREAT review, and thanks for the lack of spoilers. I love your format and wish I had thought of it myself! I may have to copy you instead. :D

I'll have to go back over The List and see how many *I* managed to check off before I got married. I'm betting not as many as you. Life has gotten so much better for me post-wedding (21.5 years ago)!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Love your review. Spot on.

Shari said...

I read it and loved it. It was a very fun read.

Your list was great. I'm afraid I wouldn't even come close to checking off more than one or two of those items.

Heidi said...

Oh, you clever, clever girl! love you!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I agree with your review in all particulars. I came to adore Ashley and her story and can't wait to read it again!

Luisa Perkins said...

It was a fun read! I finally got to it and enjoyed it thoroughly.