Lillian Marshall lives in a small town in Michigan. She makes and keeps lists, lists of everything imaginable, lists not to help her remember but to help her husband Jerry remember. Perhaps the most important list is the one she’s worked on the hardest and longest, the one she keeps adding to and subtracting from.
It’s the list of women she thinks Jerry could marry.
Lillian is dying of cancer.
The surprise in Lillian’s List by Bradley Salters is that she dies fairly early in the novel, and the story of Lillian’s List becomes the story of Jerry and the women on the list.
After Lillian’s death, Jerry manages. He doesn’t read the list. He doesn’t even know that’s what’s in the envelope. But he manages. Barely. He and Lillian loved each other with an almost ferocious passion. He goes to dinner every Friday night with his daughter Jenny and her family, to help fill the void left by Lillian’s death.
Then Jerry begins to drink, and his life spirals out of control.
Lillian’s List is a story of love, relationships, family, and what happens when the person at the center is torn out of the family fabric. It’s a story that makes you laugh with the recognition of the crazy things that families do and brings tears to see the devastation brought by loss. It is not so much a story of redemption as it is a story of endurance and overcoming.
And it’s helped along by a relatively short list.
Photograph by Hussein Afzal via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.