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The Bucket List

Review

The Bucket List

Smart, funny, sexy and undeniably brilliant, Georgia Clark’s THE BUCKET LIST is the perfect summer read. Lacey Whitman is only 25 years old and living her New York City dream: she works at Hoffman House, a highly regarded company that reports on fashion trends, she is happily single, and she finally has her own (small studio) apartment in Williamsburg. Then, after a routine Pap smear, she discovers that she has inherited the BCRA1 gene mutation, a gene strongly predictive of breast cancer --- the same cancer that killed her mother at the too-young age of 31.

Following a disastrous holiday party and a wine- and pizza-filled night with her best friends (lovesick, sloppy Steph and business-minded, efficient Vivian), Lacey must consider her options: increased medical monitoring and hope, or a preventative --- and very final --- double mastectomy. For many readers, this choice might seem like an easy one, but Clark navigates the multitude of factors incredibly well, drawing on what must have been extensive research. Lacey might be ready to forego expensive bra shopping, but is she willing to give up breastfeeding any potential children she might have? And what about dating? While we would like to believe that “the right man won’t care,” Vivian is quick to point out that all men, regardless of their intentions, have eyes, and with the next woman only a swipe away, what sounds like an obvious choice becomes one full of life-changing possibilities.

"Full of heart and tenderness --- with plenty of humor for levity --- THE BUCKET LIST is an unforgettable, fun story of self-acceptance."

Together, the girls make an elaborate list of weighted pros and cons, but you simply cannot base an emotional decision like this on numbers, so they decide to give Lacey six months to make her decision. During that time, it is Lacey’s job not only to consider her options, but to make sure she has fully said “ta-ta to her tatas.” Enter the bucket list.

Growing up without a mother, it took Lacey a bit longer than her peers to discover that her woman’s body could be used for pleasure. Unfortunately, by the time she figured this out, she was faced with inexperienced, lazy college boys and single New York men. Now it is up to Lacey not only to consider her body’s worth, but to really make an effort to discover it for the first time. First up on the list is a threesome, helpfully arranged by Steph with two YouTubers. Clark balances the sexy with the hilarious and the enticing with the uncomfortable for a scene that is as laugh-out-loud hilarious as it is provoking.

As Lacey continues to tackle items on her bucket list --- including, humorously, sex in a white limo, a dream borne from watching too many hip-hop videos as a teen --- she grapples with increased pressure at work, two wildly different love interests and the unbearable scrutiny that comes with being a woman. At the same time, she is forced to consider what it means to know that you might get cancer one day, though you do not have it yet. As a “previvor,” Lacey is uncomfortable connecting with real victims, but still recognizes her need for support. Her sister is one option, but she long ago forbade Lacey from even taking the test, and sees no value in predicting the future, putting Lacey in a truly difficult position.

I would be remiss not to introduce Lacey’s main love interest, Cooper. Cooper is smart, sexy in a “Silicon Valley nerd” way, and endlessly charming. Whether you are a fan of romances or not, this relationship leaps off the page and includes the perfect amount of ups and downs to keep you guessing, while not forcing the “will they or won’t they” trope. Clark is an absolute genius at writing all types of love, and the relationship between Lacey and Cooper is one of the best and most refreshing I’ve read in quite some time. Readers of Camille Perri’s WHEN KATIE MET CASSIDY will appreciate the accepting, non-creepy or violent flirtations from Cooper, while lovers of romantic comedies will swoon over the clever banter.

Clark is already known for her witty, compulsively readable prose, but I think that THE BUCKET LIST might be her best book yet. She has managed to turn what might be one of the most terrifying moments in a woman’s life into one of empowerment and wickedly refreshing self-love. This is not the story of every woman, but it is definitely the story of a woman you will admire and respect. It is a book for women of all ages, though it highlights the energy of a woman’s 20s particularly well. Clark’s handling of her controversial subject matter emanates with warmth and a respect for all –vivors, pre- or otherwise. Lacey will annoy, shock and amuse you, but she will do it on her own terms, and her journey is not to be missed.

Full of heart and tenderness --- with plenty of humor for levity --- THE BUCKET LIST is an unforgettable, fun story of self-acceptance.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on August 10, 2018

The Bucket List
by Georgia Clark

  • Publication Date: August 7, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501173022
  • ISBN-13: 9781501173028