Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Add This to Your List

I can tell you right now that if I had made a list fifteen years ago of the things I wanted to do before I got married -- I mean, if I had sat down and really thought it through -- it would have looked like this:

  1. Make sure he's the right one.

Possibly with another short list of qualities that "the right one" might have.

But I never made that list. Because I was pretty sure I'd know him when I found him. And I did.

But not everyone's list would be as boring as mine. Not that mine would have been bad, just lacking in... adventure. Ambition. Interest. (and actual, un-obvious things to do before getting married)

A friend of mine, Ashley Barrett, had a list of her own. A paper on which she wrote 25 things that she absolutely had to do before she settled down to get married. And how much overlap do you think there was between her list and mine? Exactly none.

No, Ashley spent every day after she made her list (at age 18) specifically trying to not complete the task on my (past tense hypothetical) list. And besides, she had her own 25 things to work on. And though some of them were relatively simple things like "read a Russian classic" and "sing karaoke", there were others like, "get a sports car", "learn a language" and ""get a master's degree". And there's also the fact that for Ashley, "sing karaoke" was a harder one to complete than another one, to "climb a mountain".

Watching Ashley climb mountain after figurative mountain as she worked her way through her list was a joy. Besides that she's just a funny, confident and beautiful person, she also happens to be a smarty and a tiny bit of a spaz. Yes, she's fun to keep tabs on.

But I'm pretty sure she never could have guessed how it would all turn out with that list of hers. After 6 good years of slowly but resolutely chipping away at it, she came to the Summer From Hell.

Her hellish summer included months by the beach, an extremely hot surf coach-turned-love interest, plenty of activities, hanging out and Jamba Juice, a fun waitressing job, and an excellent new online friend.

Now how could that be hell, you might ask? That was the summer that her list started to get a little wrinkled. A bit scruffy around the edges. Not just from overuse (though it was certainly being used), but in a figurative sense, too.

Although she was completing more things from her list in those short months than in many years combined before that summer, the list was still in jeopardy. She lost her original, handwritten copy but typed it up again from memory. Still, she struggled not to lose sight of the goal of the list: to have no regrets when she got married. Nothing to look back on with resentment because she didn't do it when she had the chance.

Life seemed to be getting better and better as hanging onto those last few items on her list became harder and harder. Still, this is Ashley. She has a very strong grip.

Very strong.

I really wish you could all meet Ashley!! She is seriously awesome. Of course I've never met her either, but I still consider her a friend.

I know! Why don't you go get your to-do list and add one more item. I promise this one will be far less painful than "cut the kids' hair" or "scrub the grout in the shower". As a matter of fact, it might even be more fun than "go out on an awesome date with husband*" (don't tell him I said that) or "Eat a piece of Adam's peanut butter cup fudge ripple cheesecake". Write in "get this book:

"
Because it is FUN. Fun, fun, fun. Funny, sunny, with one Hot Honey. Oh my gosh, I just wrote that. And I'm leaving it. The book is clever, charming, and seriously delightful (unlike my rhyme above). And don't you want to know what happens with Ashley? It didn't all play out exactly how I expected (a good thing!) but/and it is a completely satisfying read. I love. I recommend. As strongly as Ashley holds onto 6-year-old resolutions. Or possibly stronger (see how I don't give anything away? I said possibly).

I've already told you what I think of Melanie J the blogger (hmmm, we could use the same adjectives that I used up there for the book! No, not the bad rhyme again, the clevercharmingdelighful thing), but you really need to get a feel for how stuffy and hoity-toity Melanie Jacobson the author is. Check out her author website. Seriously. Stu-ffy. And then click on the book to buy! If you're like me (and you know you are) you will be reading this one over and over to recapture the humor and FUN of it. (I'm sorry to keep going on about the fun, but the book is seriously ef-yoo-en.)
* I had a hard time wanting to sit down to a movie with Greg on Valentine's Day because I was in the middle of The List and really just wanted to read! Or better yet watch it on a screen with my honey. Maybe some day...

9 comments:

Melanie Jacobson said...

I am so, so, so glad you liked it. And thank you SO much for your review!

Susan said...

I love your review. Much more original than mine! It's a fun book, huh?

Moody said...

Sounds awesome! I'll definitely put it on my "list".

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Love you. Love Melanie. Loved this. Love what she's living right now. So well-deserved. :)

Melissa Bastow said...

I never had a list....maybe I should do one now. I'll call it: "25 Things I Want to do Before I Get Any Older or Fatter" except they'll have to be things like "scratch armpit" or "run up the stairs 12 times" because I'm pretty sure I'll wake up tomorrow older....and possibly fatter.

Also, I'm going to buy this book, because AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH I love Melanie Jacobson....even though I'm lame and never read her blog anymore and had no idea that she wrote a book so I really have no claim to love whatsoever but I'm still going to buy it anyway.

Corine said...

How is it that everywhere I go... I see thees reviews? I WANT TO READ THE BOOK AND WRITE A FUN REVIEW, TOO! :D

PS. Ahsley reminds me of myself. Only.. I ended up married at 18.5 ~ SO NOT WHAT I HAD PLANNED! Still, I have my list of to do's before I die (the last of which was learn to ice skate... IT WAS AWESOME! :D); perhaps I shall one day blog it!

Corine :D

Kazzy said...

I was reading this on my iPad and didn't see the book cover until the last half of your post! I bet this is a great read. :)

Erin said...

Why do you write so well?

I guess I'm a tad concerned because I am writing a review for Tuesday, and I'm pretty sure it won't be nearly as cool as yours is.

You sure are cute. Hoity toity. I'm going to have to figure out how to use that in a sentence.

Carolyn V said...

OH my gosh! I'm so excited for Melanie's book! The cover is great! =)