Pearly Laurel’s whole life revolves around her husband, Joey. When Joey dies suddenly after many years of happy marriage, Pearly doesn’t see the point in life. She doesn’t share the Christian faith that sustained Joey, and she decides that with him gone, her best bet is to kill herself. While she’s planning that, she comes across Joey’s “bucket list” and decides that as a tribute to him, she will complete all the items on his list before taking her own life.
You don’t have to be a plot genius to figure out that in the process of working her way through Joey’s unfinished to-do list (which includes things like hiking the Appalachian trail) Pearly finds not only the will to live but faith in God. Nor do you get any points for figuring out that an array of diverse characters will gather around to give Pearly a sense of family and something to live for.
While Lisa Samson is one of my favourite contemporary Christian authors because her view of human nature is so much more realistic than that of many people who write in the “inspirational” genre, this wasn’t my favourite of her books. I found the story too predictable, Pearly’s character a bit off-putting, and one major plot point near the end far too unbelievable for me to take seriously. Mind you, this is still head and shoulders above most of what’s marketed as fiction for Christian women, but it didn’t grab me the way some of Samson’s other books have done. It might grab you, though, and if the concept appeals to you it’s well worth giving the story a whirl — just don’t expect a page-turner that will keep you guessing.