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Having not heard of Olivia Beirne before this book I did not know what to expect. Even after reading the first few pages I was still unsure of how the writing was going to continue. The title is catchy and intriguing and the blurb definitely caught my attention. You begin to wonder what the life changing event is that means the character Georgia must fulfil her sisters ‘before 30’ bucket list.
The whole book is written like nothing I have read in a long while. It is a novel of its time with references to modern culture such as the X factor, Don’t tell the Bride and Strictly Come Dancing among others. I enjoyed these references because I can relate to them being of my generation and think I would read it again in the future because I’ll ‘get’ them. I do wonder if maybe I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I didn’t understand the references or they tune out a future market.
The theme of the book, as well as connecting sisters through life, has a constant draw to the diary of our main character. This theme also comes across in the writing style itself. I haven’t read a book in a while that reflected diary entries and I enjoyed it. The writing is friendly and colloquial and a breath of fresh air in a market where many books have a similar style or storyline. I just also want to make a reference about the use of exclamation marks. Now I am a fan of an exclamation mark but I know many reputably despise them. Each to their own but knowing this I was very surprised to see how many were used throughout. Of course it brings back the idea that it is Georgia herself writing the diary entries and writing for yourself you can say it how you want and I guess that this is why it felt different to many.
Referring to the story itself I love how the two sisters have opposing ways of looking at life. Georgia, our narrator, lives the London money struggle, dirty flat life along with trying to keep up with friends whilst being there for her sister Amy. Amy is a PE teaching, fitness fanatic who always looks on the bright side and ways to overcome situations rather than mull in them. A recurring theme in her character is ‘mind over matter’ until she is diagnosed with MS and sees a change in her lifestyle and ability to maintain independence. This is where the story takes a switch and it is Georgia who tries to be the one that attempts to cheer her sister up and gives her some of her own wise words. I enjoyed the turns throughout and the positivity bug constantly jumps between them both, showing that there is a little bit of each in everyone.
I love the premise of the story and the idea of a ‘before 30 bucket list’, I even wrote my own at the beginning of the year (skydives not included) and at this current time have too many still waiting to be achieved. I enjoyed seeing the idea of a 10k run evolve into a charity event and even further into a proposal, apologies, happy tears and friends coming together and it does *almost* make me want to bake a Victoria sponge cake. Hey, I said almost.
It is an inspiring read and can be relatable for many either from a big life changing perspective or even finding that you are Georgia, happy getting by with a steady job, flat and colleagues or Amy, full of life and energy and pushing to achieve. The sisters want the best for each other and that’s relatable for families on any level.
It isn’t of its genre without a relationship blooming and The List That Changed My Life delivers on this too. Jack is at first mistaken for someone else from a dating app who then Georgia has to work a little too close to, SPOILER her boss’ brother. Whilst it is all going smooth as a reader I am completely aware that this can not last through the entire book. I can’t remember a time when I actually held my breath during reading but I did when the ‘perfect romance’ twist came. I don’t want to completely spoil it so won’t say what it is but I can say that I was genuinely surprised. Of course it all has to work out in the end (and it does, thankfully).
Have you read The List That Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne? What’s next on your reading list?