Book Review: Alison Jean Lester's Lillian on Life*

7:47 pm


*I was fortunate to receive a copy of this book via Bookbridgr and John Murray Publishers, thank you very much!*

Lillian is not a young woman. She's lived a long life of affairs, tumbling about in the grass, and exotic jetsetting, and will not be seen to regret it for a second. In Alison Jean Lester's debut novel, she writes as Lillian, sharing anecdotes from her life, events that have taught her, and could teach others, how to make the most of it all.

If I had to pick one word to describe Lillian, it would be sassy. She is the elegantly dressed, made-up elderly lady you see with her dog in the park, telling somebody a story or sloshing down a glass of wine at midday. She begins the novel waking up alongside her married lover and looks back across her past romantic entanglements, taking her across the globe and across the decades. She speaks with great honesty about where her relationships went wrong and how she felt about the men she slept with. It's not an advice book. It reads like a memoir, a memoir of a woman who never existed but probably does in millions of iterations all over the planet. She is fiercely relatable but at the same time someone you wish to be.

I enjoyed reading Lillian On Life a lot, taking only two or three days to work my way through it. It is in no way hugely unique and I didn't find anything about it absolutely world-shattering, but it was fun, poignant, and incredibly charming. Lillian is a character I would be happy to read more about and I did feel sad finishing the last page knowing I wouldn't hear from her again. If anything, this book is the perfect one to turn to for some summer holiday escapism. 

Readers of Lillian on Life are prompted at the end to pick their favourite Lillian-isms, so here is mine:

 'I never tire of the wind when driving, and I love the amazement you feel that it's suddenly so peaceful when you stop. I hope that is what death is like. Peaceful when you stop.'

M x

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