Between 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.
They pile into the minivan, Kelly up front with her mom, Kevin in back still sulking about cereal. Ginny drives a half-mile, stopping at the corner of Shady Glen and Cedar, where Elliot, an eighth grader—like Kevin, but without the sullen expression—waits in front of his house.
Elliot’s mom, Bronwyn, stands by the front door, hands on hips. She glares at Ginny. Unlike Ginny, Bronwyn is slim and punctual, arriving early to pick the kids up after school. Ginny has never been invited inside her home, but she imagines a tightly run ship. She pictures Bronwyn in June Cleaver pearls, apron-clad, baking flax-soy cookies for Elliot every day. The bitch.
JC (Jeanne) Miller, M.A., is an educator and founding member of JAM, an editorial-consultation team. An avid reader, aspiring traveler and table tennis enthusiast, she resides in Northern California.
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