Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Ten Best Days Of My Life by Adena Halpern

The basic story is this: at the age of twenty nine Alex Dorenfield unexpectedly finds herself in heaven with her dog Peaches after she has an unfortunate encounter with a Mini Cooper. In fact she is in the seventh, and highest level of heaven, where she is reunited with loved ones, has been given her dream home, lives next door to a handsome man and is now the proud owner of a closet enviable by all. Naturally there is a catch. In order to remain in seventh heaven, Alex must prove she led a fulfilling life by writing an essay about her ten best days on earth.
'The ten best days of my life' is classic chick-lit. It is a quick weekend read that takes little concentration yet provides plenty of smiles and some laugh out loud moments.
To give you a sense of how the story unfolds, Alex defines her ten best days as
1. conception
2. the day she met her best friend
3. a special night out with her family
4. her first kiss
5. the day she grew a conscience
6. the day she ended an engagement
7. the day she bought her dog
8. the day she found her career path
9. her last day on earth
10. the day she knew for sure her life was not a waste
The book is written in casual conversational style, and has a great deal of dialogue that focuses on Alex examining her short yet full life. There are plenty of moments where she seems immature and narcissistic, yet perhaps it is this immaturity that allows you to overlook her conversational shortcomings and just embrace her character as 'fun' and lighthearted.
In the end Alex learns that what is important both in life and in death is her family and friends, and the ability to learn who she truly is as a person by knowing what matters to her. The essay becomes a crash course in growing up where she realises she was far from perfect yet knows there is no doubt, that had she lived longer she would have gone on to lead a meaningful life, and much of that would be contributed to the people who surrounded her. This book is light entertainment, yet it does get you thinking.
Three and a half stars.

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