By The Time You Read This by Lola Jaye

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 346 pages, 2008

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: A summer read that had some buzz around it.

Synopsis: Lois barely remembers her dad, who died when she was only five, but when she turns thirteen, she discovers that he thought ahead and left her a manual: tips, advice, and just chit-chat about his own experiences to let her get to know the dad she never had a chance to know. Each birthday she’s to read the next chapter, which might be full of enough age-appropriate advice to help her pull through the ages of 13-30. Lois will find her dad is almost always right, but she’ll have to learn the hard way that there’s something to be said for a life without instructions…

Why you should read this book: By The Time You Read This is a sweet story that reminds us that life has plans of its own (but that a little nudge in the right direction can be just what we needed). The characters are very real and will especially strike a chord with females in their late 20s and early 30s who are sure to have a laugh over the trends we followed when we were younger, as well as give a helping hand to anyone struggling to find their way in life. Jaye’s debut is sure to leave you teary-eyed but full of hope.

Why you should avoid this book: This book is a little sentimental (though not sappy), so don’t read this in public if you’re prone to crying. I’ll confess I was glad I read it at home and not on the bus. Also keep in mind that the book starts with Lois at thirteen and moves her along to thirty, so some parts are bound to be more interesting to you than others.

Opening paragraph:

Mum’s marrying some prick she met down the bingo.

Fabulous quotes:

To leave or not to leave?
You probably hate school and can’t wait to be released from the shackles of all those rules, not to mention the revolting school dinners. But please, Lowey, really think about staying on at sixth form or going to college. Get those extra grades. Remember, it’s all about having choices.

Sixth Form College represented a change of scenery, and with it a handful of perks. Top of the list: no school uniform plus daily access to some really cool guys. Not that any were ever interested in me. It had been and would always be my best friend Carla who enticed the hungry crowds.

‘And as I was saying, no, I don’t get lonely.’
‘But you live in that flat, all alone.’
‘So?’ For one horrible second, I thought she was angling to move back in with me.
‘I can’t even remember you with a bloke -‘
‘Yes, I know, I know…but take it from me, I really am not lonely. I love my life…’ I caught the expression of pity etched onto my best friend’s face. I knew she’d never truly understand me. no one did, except my dad.

Also recommended: Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson; Hick by Andrea Portes; The Rhythm of the Road by Albyn Leah Hall.

Also by this author: By The Time You Read This is Jaye’s first novel.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Click here for a list of some of Jaye’s favourite books.

Would I read more by this author? Definitely. I look forward to her second novel.

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2008

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