In Five Years

I cried reading this. There was a poignancy to the story I wasn’t expecting, and a sisterhood of friends that I loved and envied.

READ IF YOU…

  • Enjoy character-driven books
  • Want to read contemporary fiction
  • Enjoy coming-of-age stories
  • Are in the mood for a NYC setting

TitleIn Five Years | AuthorRebecca Serle | Rating: 3/5

I cried reading this. There was a poignancy to the story I wasn’t expecting, and a sisterhood of friends that I loved and envied.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

I expected this book to go in a completely different direction, focusing more on the typical college-career-marriage-childbirth storyline. And though those elements were touched upon, that’s not at all what the story was about.

What I got out of it all was:

  1. You can’t plan for everything
  2. Plans go to hell
  3. Unplanned things may be the best thing sometimes
  4. Life is just…life…it happens and you have to go with it
  5. Don’t be afraid to switch plans if things are comfortable but maybe not as satisfying

These are all cliches, but somehow, in this book, they came together well. Dannie’s plans, though they’re rational and seem to be the right decisions for her, aren’t necessarily the best for her or those around her.

She’s engaged to a great guy, David, who she loves, but isn’t in love with. She doesn’t always think her best friend Bella is the best at life because she’s not a planner like Dannie, but she realizes Bella’s way of life is equally valid as hers.

I expected the story to end with Dannie with the “other guy,” but it wasn’t anything like that. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed, but it also fit.

I do have to say I’m not sure I liked Dannie – I did initially, but then decided she was too judgmental, especially of Bella, and thought she was smarter, but may not have realized it. There was a sort of assured arrogance to her that wasn’t exactly arrogance, but had some ego to it.

Still, Dannie’s any one of us who likes to plan everything and follow the path they’ve decided for themselves. And then end up watching that plan burn in flames and the path dissolve into nothingness. I’ve been there – still am – and maybe that’s where the poignancy of the book hit the hardest for me.

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