Thursday, July 11, 2013

"The Life List"

Lori Nelson Spielman lives in East Lansing, Michigan. A former speech pathologist and guidance counselor, she currently works as a homebound teacher for inner-city students. Spielman enjoys fitness running, traveling, and reading, though writing is her true passion. She and her husband spend their winters cursing the god-awful Michigan weather, and their summers sailing the glorious shores of Lake Michigan.

Spielman applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Life List, and reported the following:
My protagonist, Brett Bohlinger, received one last order from her deceased mother: to complete the life list of goals she wrote as a teen. Problem is, these goals don’t resemble her current dreams in the slightest. In fact, some of them are nothing short of impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who’s been dead seven years? Or get a horse when she lives in downtown Chicago?

On page 69, Brett stews over goal number one: Have a baby, maybe two. She and her friend, Megan, sit together at a coffee shop, where Megan asks Brett some pointed questions. Brett is forced to admit that the reason she no longer wants children is because her boyfriend, Andrew, doesn’t want kids. She has morphed into the person he wants her to be, rather than staying true to her own dreams. And she still hasn’t told Andrew about the life list she’s expected to complete.
“…But he’ll go ballistic. He wants to buy a plane someday, not a horse! Kids aren’t part of his plan. He made that perfectly clear early on.”

“And that was okay with you?”

I look out the window, my mind stretching back to another time. “I convinced myself it was. Things were different back then. We traveled a lot…he’d join me on business trips. Our lives were so full it was hard to imagine having a child.”

“And now?”

She’s asking for the updated version of my life. The version where I eat alone most nights in front of the television and the last trip we took was to his sister’s wedding in Boston two years ago. “I’ve just lost my mother and my job. I can’t deal with more loss. Not yet.”
Midway through the page, the story shifts to Megan’s dilemma. She caught her boyfriend cheating…again.

Big surprises are in store for both Brett and Megan if the reader chooses to continue reading. Kirkus Reviews claims, “Spielman’s debut charms.” I certainly hope page 69 displays some of that charm!
Learn more about the book and author at Lori Nelson Spielman's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue