The One That I Want.

“It’s crazy, it’s surreal, it’s daunting. Mostly, it feels akin to being pregnant for eight and a half months, then looking in the mirror and suddenly realizing that there’s no turning back: you’re having this baby and you’re having it soon!”
~Allison Winn Scotch, via her 5/25 blog


Isn’t it something we’ve all wished for at some point in our lives? Clarity in regard to a decision we must make, a choice we’ve already made, or perhaps something else entirely – that insight we crave, the answers to the questions we may not have even realized we had. In a way, it’s a monumental theme that can tie everyone together, that common thread that can be interwoven between people, even when the idea of clarity means something unique for each person. It’s also one of the main messages in Allison’s new book The One That I Want, which was released earlier this month.

I know a good deal of my posts lately have been about authors and novels, but I couldn’t resist doing a separate entry on what is easily one of my favorite books that I’ve read all year. Like I mentioned in my previous post, Allison has an incredible propensity for crafting novels that not only pull you into the story, but also make you relate it to your own life, sometimes without even thinking twice. I would be reading a scene in TOTIW, entirely absorbed by the characters’ world, when I’d suddenly find myself thinking about how a choice Tilly (the main character) made could apply to one I have – or haven’t – made myself. And it’s not just Tilly who’s so relatable. It’s all of the characters. They’re human, they’re real, they’re images of who we are as people. And, something I think is the mark of a truly talented author (which Allison is – seriously, go buy her books!!), it’s easy to relate to parts of almost every character. That’s one of the things that intrigued me the most about Allison’s most recent novel. The characters paint a picture that goes all the way across the spectrum. Many of them are different in important ways, yet I found myself both understanding and relating to so many of them.

There’s Tilly, the small town girl who let some of her big dreams fall by the wayside. There’s her husband Tyler, who has done the same … until now. There’s her sister Darcy, who learns that sometimes those big dreams, the ones you thought were going to take you to new places, end up bringing you right back where you belong. There’s her advisee CJ, a high school senior whose perspective is imbued with hope and light. That’s just a sampling of the diverse characters who Allison portrays with such ease. She has the ability to make us understand her characters’ motivations, even when we don’t agree with their decisions. And, as always, her book tells a story that resonates long after the final page is read. The ideas remain, the implications for our own lives resound in our minds as we consider not only the characters’ journeys, but also our own.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot and ruin it for everyone, so I’ll just go with this: TOTIW does an amazing job of highlighting so many important lessons. Tilly was happy with her life. She thought she had everything she wanted, until the gift of clarity – via a fortune teller who used to be a close childhood friend – turns her world upside down. Suddenly parts of Tilly’s life come into clearer, sharper focus, the snapshots begininng to change. And that’s not just true for Tilly, but many of the other characters who fill the pages of this wonderful novel. They all evaluate their hopes, dreams, and the paths that could take them there – and in doing so, they inspire the reader to do exactly the same. That’s one of the things I love most in any book, and Allison’s writing prowess only made it even more of a joy to read.

Reading Allison’s blog, it’s been easy to see what a journey she goes on through the writing and publication process. I LOVED her quote comparing a book’s release to the birth of a baby, because in a way, that’s what every book is like for a writer (well, at least for me, and I’d imagine anyone who spends so long working on a “labor of love” would feel similarly). Each novel is special, different, a work of heart and a baby who will (fingers crossed!) one day be out there in the world. The One That I Want didn’t just only give me a fantastic, compelling book to get lost in, but also a reminder of everything I’m striving for. I guess you could say it gave me the gift of clarity all over again.

What about you? If you could see into your future like Tilly does, would you want to? And what do you think clarity would help you realize?


11 thoughts on “The One That I Want.

  1. Wow, there are so many things in my life i’d love to have cleared up. Number one, why are there only two dryers in the dorm’s laundry room at school? :P

    But seriously, all joking aside, I’d love to know what i’m going to wind up doing with my life. I have so many random goals and career aspirations; i’d just like to know which one (or ones) i’ll end up pursuing.

    The One That I Want sounds like such an interesting, character driven book. My favorite kind! Next time i go to the bookstore i’ll be sure to check it out!

    • Ah, see, and THAT is why I chose to live at home and commute to school ;-) Seriously, I always say that anyone who goes away to school deserves major kudos for having to deal with things like that, among others. And I’d imagine the PSU dorms must be really big, too!

      Allow me to give you my two cents on your “seeing into the future” answer. You’re going to be a bestselling author, of course!! :-) I honestly believe that 110%. And now, because you have me curious … if you could choose any one goal/career aspiration, above all others, what would you pick?

      It is definitely a character driven book … and one of the things I loved most about it is that it offered that insight into ALL the characters, not just the main one. Those are my favorite kind of books, too, and TOTIW absolutely ranks right up there at the top of the list!!

      • awh, thanks Shari!! Hmm if i could only pick one career goal…it would have to be author or singer/songwriter. I have to be able to write somehow! But my newest idea is if those don’t work out, being a literary agent would be so cool! Getting to read books all day=dream come true!

        • It’s so funny that you mentioned agenting, because I was literally JUST thinking about that. Jessica Faust from BookEnds has a blog entry today about traits that all/most agents have, and reading her post and all the comments that followed reminded me all over again what a truly amazing job it must be. That’s the most fun part about querying for me, getting to research the different agents and see how passionate they are about their work. Can you imagine what a wonderful job it must be?!?

  2. another recommendation by you that i’m adding to my summer reading list =]

    i love books that you can relate to; books that give you insight, clarity, and a voice to what you might have either not understood before, overlooked, or even something that puts into words something you were thinking and feeling yourself.

    i’m FINALLY a good chapter into emily griffin’s ‘love the one you’re with’ after getting sidetracked by a book recommendation from vanessa by mitch albom. have you read any of his books? ‘tuesdays with morrie’? vanessa had me read ‘the five people you meet in heaven’ and while i didn’t fall in love, it made me think, reflect, and left me affected. but nowhere near as much as the second book i read of his, ‘have a little faith’. i thought of you when reading this. it was truly loving and hopeful.

    it’s funny, my summer reads went from jen lancaster chick lit to the beauty of the jewish faith. books, and the surprising ways they bring inspiration to us, are a unique and wonderful way of exploring all sides of us.

    • I’m excited to hear what you think of it! I’ve always enjoyed everything I’ve read by Allison (blogs and articles along with novels), but this is definitely my favorite. There was just something special about the it … that inexplicable quality of a book that quickly becomes one of your favorites.

      And thank you for YOUR recommendation!! I haven’t read any of Mitch’s books, but I’ve heard great things about Tuesdays with Morrie. I just clicked on over to Barnes & Noble’s website so I could read the synopsis for Have a Little Faith, and I was instantly intrigued. I’m adding it to my “to read” list right now! I simply adore books that have those messages of hope. There’s nothing like being inspired by the words on the pages. And you know, I think the mark of a good book isn’t just that readers fall in love, but, like you mentioned, that they finish it feeling affected and reflecting in some way about their own lives. Thank you again for the suggestion (and I’m adding Jen’s books to my list, too – I know so many people who rave about her)! I’ll let you know what I think, and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Emily! :-)

      Oh, and I also have to agree whole heartedly with your comment about loving books you can relate to. I definitely enjoy the ones I can read just to “see” someone else’s journey, but my favorites are the ones that give me insight that stays with me long after I’ve read the last page. There’s just something so special about being inspired by what you read, kind of taking the characters’ journeys and lessons learned and applying them to your own life. It’s what I aim to do with my own writing, bring in that relatability factor, because it just sparks something in me when I read a book that does the same.

      And hey, it’s a GREAT thing when you get to experience that inspiration from such an eclectic selection! I think each type of book holds the potential and possibility to affect us in unique ways, and it’s wonderful when we can open ourselves up to that!!

      Wow, and I’m sorry for answering with the longest comment EVER … brownie for you if you read all that ;-)

  3. haha, of course i did! i’ll share my brownie with you ;)

    “each type of book holds the potential and possibility to affect us in unique ways…”
    yes! exactly. i’ve never understood how some only read one genre or listen to one genre of music. are we just one genre? i’d like to think i’m more eclectic and can find pieces of myself in everything.

    and i agree, i love closing the book after reading the last paragraph, with a slight smile on my face, knowing i just took away something that i’ll remember long after :)

    • I know EXACTLY what you mean. Sure, there will always be genres that we prefer and ones that are best suited to our personalities, but so many wonderful books and/or music would slip to the wayside if everyone just boxed themselves in like that. Some of my favorite novels and songs are from genres I used to never imagine myself liking. I think it’s so great that you’re open to being so eclectic and finding that piece of yourself in everything. I think there’s almost always at least a tidbit – even if it’s something small – to relate to … we just have to be willing to find it.

      And yes, is that not such a terrific feeling? There’s just something really satisfying about a book that can give a moment like that :-)

  4. I’ve recently begun to broaden my musical genre horizons with a music social network website called LastFM, and I love it so much, i just wish there was a reading social network like that.

    Would I want to see into the future?
    That’s a hundred percent NO, because I believe the journey to your future is what provides the clarity in life. If you knew things in advance, you’d change your plans or actions accordingly, to get what you might think you want. And while that might allow you to avoid some pain in your life, or take a shortcut to realizing a dream, I have to think that everything in life happens for a reason. The pain we suffer is not without reason, and the dreams we attain might not be worth as much if we could take a shortcut to get there.

    • You know, in a way, I almost feel like blogs, communities, and just conversation between friends can be a reading social network of sorts. We get to share our recommendations, our favorite books, and things like that. If you’re thinking of something a little more organized, there’s Goodreads (website is: I’m not sure if it’s exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s a great site that a lot of authors take part in, too.

      And you know, my initial reaction to your answer about seeing into the future is just to say “ditto” to it all! I fully believe that it’s not just the destination that’s important, but also the journey. The journey to our futures is what allows us to grow and takes us in directions we never could have imagined. It inspires. I too believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what that reason is at the time. Things that seems insurmountable end up serving as inspiration, things we don’t understand at the time eventually bring us clarity. And we’re so often better off because of it – those roadblocks end up being challenges to overcome, ones that lead us exactly to where we’re supposed to be. Sometimes that “door #2″ is the one we were meant to walk through …. and, like you said, those dreams come true mean SO much more when we’ve worked so hard to attain them!

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