The Life List (The List Trilogy #1) by Chrissy AndersonThe Life List by Chrissy Anderson
Published March 2012
Series: The List Trilogy #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dramatic Romance
five-stars
Format: eBook
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When she was just sixteen, Chrissy Anderson made a life list…

…The outcome is a dream husband, a career to envy, and the kind of best friends every girl wants. Then out of nowhere…an affair. What would you do if you realized the life you created wasn’t right for you? You think you know the answer? Think again. Follow Chrissy as she lies and cheats and ultimately learns to tell the truth to herself and those that she loves.

At twenty-eight, Chrissy has been steadily checking off the boxes on her life list as she mocks the style and life choices of everyone around her. She’s got it all—or so everyone thinks. Her life begins to fall apart when she unexpectedly meets a much younger man, Leo, who makes her question just how perfect her “perfect life” really is. With the help of her no-nonsense therapist, Dr. Maria, Chrissy learns more about herself than she anticipates. But it isn’t until she stares an untimely death in the face that Chrissy is catapulted into an overdue reality check. Only then does she scramble to correct the mistakes of her past…trying to figure out if it’s her husband Kurt, her lover Leo, or both that she has to leave behind to make everything right.

Women of all kinds will be able to relate to the pressure of constructing the ideal life, only to fall short. Not everyone will agree with Chrissy Anderson’s decisions, but all will pause as they follow along on her journey to ask, “What would I do if I were her?”

Chrissy Anderson leads what everyone one the outside would qualify as the perfect (married) life, but life as she knows it slowly being to fall apart when she meets Leo – six years her junior – at a bar. She is overwhelmed by his attention and love, which in turn makes her question just how perfect life with her husband Kurt Gibbons really is.

Chrissy hates herself for being the cheater, so she seeks out a therapist who will make her realise – against her will – that her marriage has reached a dead end and she is faced to making a choice. However, whichever choice she makes, not everyone can remain unharmed.

What I loved about this book:

  • The unusually refreshing storyline
  • The emotional rollercoaster
  • The very realistic feel and character development
  • The author make it possible for me to love the story despite not exactly “liking” the main character. That’s got to be a talent.

What I felt needed improvement:

  • General editing: punctuation and grammatical errors

This would be the first time I start writing a review while I am still reading the book, but I felt like I needed to share my initial feelings before they might change to something else up until the end of the book and I don’t recall what I felt like in the beginning.

The Life List is not your average book. First of all, it is longer than your average contemporary romance, and second things: it not just contemporary romance, but dramatic romance. And well, about 15% through the story, I noticed that this is some kind of autobiography. I’m not necessarily against autobiographies, it’s just that I was litteraly flabbergasted, because the main character (and author of the book) really isn’t your usual main character. Chrissy Anderson is downright unlikeable. She’s the stereotype of the cool cheerleader girl who picks on everyone and talks behind people’s backs. The kind of girl with a life list with “buy a house at 23, get married at 24 and have babies at 28” written on it. She’s such a ridiculously bitchy, heartless and superficial person that it made me want to file a DNF on this book around the first 25%, jut because I couldn’t identify with that character.

But then comes the actual issue around which the whole novel evolves. We find out that Chrissy tries hard to keep up the illusion of a seemingly picture-perfect married-life. The Chrissy Anderson who is known to be a ruthless and successful businesswoman becomes a total pushover where her marriage is concerned. She married her high school sweetheart Kurt, and to make sure he would always love her, she used to engage into any sorts of activity/behaviour that he loves, but she totally hates. It took Chrissy years to realise that she was with someone completely delusional who loved a fake version with her, and that Kurt will never be able to return the support, compassion and emotional attachment she shows him. He does loves her with all his heart, but it just isn’t enough for her. During her darkest times, he never supported her and left her feeling completely messed up when she needed him the most.

“I was afraid to make him mad, so I tried to act tough and not as needy. I did whatever it took so that I didn’t have to be alone.”

So in the end, it’s no wonder why she was so smitten with Leo, who gave her just that: support, commitment and interest who the person she really is. No matter how unethical you think it is when reading my review, no matter how bade you will hate Chrissy for being a cheater: if you read the book you will come to the same conclusion as me. Her actions are perfectly understandable.

Throughout The Life List, I slowly grew more and more attached to Chrissy Anderson, although at the start, you might feel that she is completely at odds with any type of ethics or morale you may have. But in the end it is not true: while Chrissy is a judgemental person (which doesn’t really change throughout the book), she does have conscience, and does think hard and long about what she is doing. While I guess any reader would scream at Chrissy to get out of her unhappy marriage and file for divorce (regardless of the Leo situation), Chrissy is afraid to hurt Kurt because she still loves him and wishes hard she could change him. In the end she does everything she can to push the D-word at the back of her mind, even though she knows it’s the only way this could work. You will find out that – surprisingly – Chrissy shows extreme commitment and compassion (especially towards the end of the book) even if that makes her come second many, many times.

“The first commitment is to yourself. If you’re not happy, you will never make another living soul happy.”

So many things happen in this book, and wile they are spread over about 2 years, they are a very realistic representation of how torn Chrissy is about her own situation. At times, I got very frustrated at her for not making the right choices and not “manning up” to get the ball rolling and take control of her life. I just wanted her to start thinking about herself rather than about what people might think of her.

But thank god, towards the end of the book, Chrissy finally clicks and makes the right choices. Even though Chrissies doesn’t manage to make everyone around her happy like she would have wanted to, and even though the reason why she finally “clicked” is attributable to an unfortunate event, it helps her find some peace.

I read the end of this book sitting in a coffeeshop and people literally stared at me because I was crying big fat tears. I rarely ever felt so deeply about a book, a character, or the way the story played out… It felt extremely real to me and I was fascinated by the character development that Chrissy goes to. And believe me, I was this close filing a Do Not Finish for this book at the beginning, and was convinced I wouldn’t like it at all. And while I still don’t like Chrissy’s racist and judgemental behaviour, I was completely mesmerised by her story and how she dealt with it. It was simply powerful and full of wisdom.

The writing was good, especially the descriptive part and the repetitive flashbacks, which – apart from the questionable ethics of the main character – really made the book so much more real and close to real life. However, the writing was heavy with punctuation errors – very basic mistakes an editor would/should have spotted right away. The was also a huge misuse of capital letters, but well, it didn’t make reading the book a difficult task.

In summary, The Life List is a powerful story, which is different from your usual contemporary romance novels in so many ways. It will certainly leave a mark in my reading history, and I ca’n’t wait to read book #2 The Unexpected List.

Detailed Rating
Storyline
5 Stars
Characters
5 Stars
Writing
4 Stars
All the feels
5 Stars
Overall: five-stars