Recently, I reviewed JC Miller’s novel, Vacation plus interviewed her about her life and writing here. After reading two more of her recent releases, I realized that what JC Miller does is document relationships. Not the pretty, angst-driven ones of the very young, or the happily-ever-afters of romance writers. No, she wants to understand the tangled, messed up places that grownups go to in their own heads and how that affects those around them. Today I’m lucky to review one of her latest contributions to a genre she’s fast defining. (Please come back next week for my review of the bittersweet Believing in Bigfoot.)
Contact Links For JC Miller
BlurbBetween unending housework and thankless efforts to appease a loutish husband and acid-tongue teens, Ginny Cooper’s to-do list never seems to get done. Her guilty pleasure—fantasizing about her husband’s demise—her weakness—the drive-thru at Arby’s. On the job as head librarian at the county’s obsolete library, tedium reigns. One afternoon Ginny innocently stumbles upon a dating website, where the rabbit hole awaits. Who is Ginny Cooper? She is every woman who knows the exact number of calories in a Snickers bar, every woman who has ever struggled with her weight. She is every woman who has grappled with the gray areas, every woman who has wanted to escape her own life. At times the reader will want to reach between the pages, shake her, and talk some sense into her. But Ginny will have to navigate her own road. And through it all, we root for her.
Ginny’s childhood memories of her fading hometown provide a bittersweet backdrop for The To-Do List.
- Book Title: The To-Do List
- Author: JC Miller
- Genre: Literary fiction/relationship
- Length: 225 pages
- Release Date: December 23, 2014 from Booktrope
My Review: 5 out of 5 stars for JC Miller’s The To-Do List
I don’t like the words we have in English to describe middle-aged women. Cougar? Crone? Grandma? Even if you discount the sexual connotations of cougar, we’re still not the heroines of the epic romance story. The best we can hope for is the relationship story.
And that’s where JC Miller comes in. Her books give life and voice—not to mention humor—to what the French call femmes d’une certaine age. Her latest release, The To-Do List, stars the irresistible Ginny Cooper, wife/mother/librarian/daughter/friend/failed-dieter. On her never-ending to-do list—the last vestige of her attempt to label the life she can no longer control—the first six items are no more achievable than the last one.
- Sign up for Curves!
- Quit eating sugar.
- Clean garage.
- Call Mom.
- Wash van.
- Buy milk.
- Kill Cal.
As she stumbles through the next months, Ginny sees her marriage, job, and relationship with her children crumble. But even as that’s happening, the items on her list start to tell a different story. Her husband’s furious diatribe about Ginny’s failure to pick up his dry cleaning finally accomplishes what years of list-making could not, and the list item pick up dry cleaning changes to 3. Pick up dry cleaning. In hell-hahahaha.
Slowly, painfully the list is whittled down. While clean garage will probably never make it off the list, we can tell that Ginny is finally on the way to being the owner of her to-do list and her life.
The To-Do List would have been almost painful to read if it wasn’t for JC Miller’s humor and wit. With those, I immediately recognized Ginny. She’s my sister, my friend, my colleague, myself. I wouldn’t hesitate to give this five stars, and congratulate Miller on creating a novel where the successful relationship Ginny finally achieves is with herself.
*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**