Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review: The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch

Tilly Farmer loves her life. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, she’s a guidance counselor at the local high school and gets to plan prom every year, and at 32, everything’s in place to try for a baby. But then a chance encounter with a high school friend changes everything. Because old traumas – her father’s alcoholism, her mother’s death, her younger sisters’ carelessness – are all coming to the surface and even Tilly’s relentless happiness can’t keep them at bay forever.

I was really excited to read this one because I loved the high concept premise and surprising depth of TIME OF MY LIFE (read my review). This one’s also got a bit of magic realism – the fact that after meeting her old friend, Tilly can see scenes from her future. All of this is supposed to give Tilly clarity – or so her former friend says. But Tilly just thinks it’s ruining her life, and she wants the visions to stop – especially when she sees her husband packing up the house to move…

You see Tilly is a homebody - someone who loves her small-town life and is unwilling to uproot. This is partly because of her tough family history, and I really sympathized with Tilly for that part of her story. I know all about being the oldest sibling and trying to hold everything together after a tragedy. But that’s about where the sympathy – and my similarities with Tilly – ended.

Though there were a host of things that Tilly said or did that I found incomprehensible, what disturbed me the most was the way she treated her husband, Tyler. He obviously longs to do something more with his life, something that can’t be done in their small town, and has put his dreams on hold for Tilly's sake for years. Tilly won’t even consider moving, and she shuts him out so completely, it’s not hard to feel sorry for the guy. Ok, so he ends up making some pretty cowardly decisions, but despite all the “clarity” Tilly manages to find over the course of the novel, she never recognizes her own failures where Tyler is concerned.

So while I did appreciate Scotch’s deft observations about small-town life and the ways in which we can all get ourselves stuck, my dislike of Tilly eventually left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m still upset when I think about Tilly did at the end. Ugh!! I hope you will like her more than I did!

THE ONE THAT I WANT is available now in hardcover. Find out more about it at the author's website.

This review has been a part of Allison's TLC blog tour. Check out the other tour stops for more (postitive) thoughts on this title.

16 comments:

Ladytink_534 said...

I think the visions would be neat to have but only if you can change what you see because otherwise that would just be horrible.

Sandy Nawrot said...

The reviews on this book have been so good, but I've been in your postion before. If a personality rubs be wrong, there is not much I can do to get past it. I just had this happen with Garden Spells. I wanted to shake sense into the damned woman!

Zibilee said...

I have heard that the main character in this book is a little hard to get along with due to her attitude to her husband, and I can't imagine that I would like her very much either. I do eventually want to read this book, but I will definitely be keeping these things in mind as I read. Thanks for giving an honest review, Lenore.

diaryofaneccentric said...

I've been really looking forward to reading this book. I just hope I don't hate the character so much that it clouds my enjoyment of the book.

LisaMM said...

I can still usually appreciate a book even if I don't like a main character- in fact sometimes it's a good thing because then it makes for fun debate with other people. Perhaps this would be a good book club book? It's got all the 'what if' stuff and a somewhat dislikable character to argue over!

Thanks so much for being on the tour!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

The book sounds like it had wonderful potential. Its funny how a character can turn us away from liking a book, that would have otherwise been really good.

Blueicegal ♥ said...

great review and i actually really like the cover!

bermudaonion said...

Well, now I'm very curious about what Tilly did at the end.

Carla said...

I've heard a few things about this one to determine it's probably not something that I personally wouldn't really click with. I love how honest this review is and that even though the book maybe wasn't for you, you've managed to convey it in such a lovely way. fabulous review!

Connie said...

I think the premise sounds neat, but I understand why this didn't fully work for you. Too bad--but I appreciated the honest review!

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Eek, I know what you mean with the "just HORRIBLE" ending that you can't really get over. This book does sound like it has potential, but Tilly seems to sort of stunt it. Thank you for the great and honest review. :)

Kathleen said...

I'll have a hard time with the book if the main character rubs me the wrong way. I was at the bookstore at lunch today and almost bought this one now I'm glad that I skipped it for now.

Meg said...

I had trouble with Tilly as a character, too, and her interactions with Tyler were really short-sighted and sad. I'm with you: the fact that she failed to even recognize the sacrifices her husband made for her was disturbing! I enjoyed the book overall, though.

joanna said...

Yours is the second review of this that I see and now I REALLY want to read this! But I haven't read Time of my life yet so that'll have to come first! :-)

Jennifer said...

I've seen this book in the bookstore A LOT and I've been meaning to buy it. I'm definitely intrigued by the plot. I love a little magical realism in almost any story. But I'm not sure I'll be able to connect to the main character. I love flawed characters, but I love it even more when they realize their flaws and take steps to change. Not sure if I'll get that in this book. But maybe even that is the author trying to say something .... you can never know with fiction.

Amanda said...

The more I read about this one, the more I want to get my hands on it!