It's A Wonderful Life - Jesse Goossens

by - Wednesday, December 07, 2011

It's A Wonderful Life - Jesse Goossens

Paperback : 188 pages
Published May 28th 2011 by Lemniscaat USA (first published : 2008)

Dutch almost-eighteen-year-old Anna is not allowed to go on a Spanish beach vacation with her friends. Instead her parents send her to small town America to spend the summer with her uncle. To pass the time, Anna starts working in an antique shop where she befriends different kinds of people ranging from the local undertaker--a boy her age--to an elderly Jewish couple. Anna could never have imagined that what she thought would be the dullest holiday ever would turn out to be a time where she discovers what life is about.

The first thing I love about this book is : Thank God Anna is not a whiny brat.

Most characters I've came across in books like this tend to have an awful lot of complains when they were forced to spend their summer in-the-middle-of-nowhere (Quote : Courage the Cowardly dog), thus, I am very pleased to find that Anna was a mature teenager and calmly accepted her 'impending' fate.

I had a great time reading A Wonderful Life, and I dare to say that it is one of it's kind. I love how the story was narrated, short and simply, fun and witty, and absolutely no roll-your-eyes drama. During Anna's stay in Bakerton, she met different kind of 'exotic' people, ranging from a funeral director, a big guy who works in a bakery and an ancient grave digger! But these people doesn't scare her off, instead, she was intrigued by their story and soon, she was smitten by the small town magic. Living in a close knit community definitely has its benefits.

I've read books which quoted lines from movies, but not one which actually compiled quotes from movies! Anna was a movie buff so it seems fair that she quoted lines from classic and non-classic movies in her conversations, that should have annoyed me but oddly I was captured by her words, that was what made the book even more special! Therefore the author deserved to be rewarded with an extra point for the effort!
(Note: The quotes were taken from movies dated back to 1931 up until the most recent, 2007. So don't be surprised to find quotes ranging from Frankenstein, to Casablanca and Pirates of the Carribean...)

Another aspect I came to like is the variety of personalities in the characters. Like I said, 'exotic'. In A Wonderful Life, you'll meet an 18 year old Funeral Director Daniel who thinks 'directiing a funeral' is an art worth respecting, an ancient grave digger who still digs graves and is mighty fine, Tilly, a Jewish old woman with a young heart and also Ben, a big guy who could be so very gentle. One sentence, not your everyday people.

Overall, it has a good plot with a good moral value. It was a story of how a summer in Bakerton changed the life of a teenager who's searching for her true identity (gosh I love these books!) and encountered a series of life-changing experiences, by meeting the small town residence of Bakerton.
Though I love the resolution of the story, however I was a teeny bit disappointed by the writing. Oh not in sense of grammatical mistakes, but I thought that the last few chapters should be elaborated. It ended perfectly, but there was just something lacking, I was left with questions unaswered, perhaps it was forgotten?

Still, end result = love it!

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  1. Sounds interesting. I like that she wasn't whiny. And the movie tie-in sounds like fun.

  2. I'm a new follower, by the way, so hi! Thanks for the review, it sounds like a really interesting book! I'm definitely going put this on my to-read list!

  3. Great review! I loved the movie of the title (not same story), so I was excited to see it used again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)


  4. I love the movie Its a Wonderful Life..this tale looks interesting. great review :)
    new follower.


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