Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Lifetime of Impossible Days” as Want to Read:
A Lifetime of Impossible Days
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Lifetime of Impossible Days

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  892 ratings  ·  240 reviews
‘Every so often a book comes along that reaffirms the glory and beauty of life. Tabitha Bird has gifted us this wonder’ Cass Moriarty

Meet Willa Waters, aged 8 . . . 33 . . . and 93.

On one impossible day in 1965, eight-year-old Willa receives a mysterious box containing a jar of water and the instruction: ‘One ocean: plant in the backyard.’ So she does - and somehow creates
Kindle Edition, 390 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Penguin eBooks
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Lifetime of Impossible Days, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Rikki Hill They visited Seb's grave.
Lottie survived but still had issues to deal with.…more
They visited Seb's grave.
Lottie survived but still had issues to deal with.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  892 ratings  ·  240 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Lifetime of Impossible Days
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2020
Someone said A Lifetime of Impossible Days is the author's debut novel. Really??? She must be wondering what she can write next to beat this. It is just beautiful.

The story tells the life of Willa, now 93 years old, beginning to be very forgetful and facing a most unwanted move to a nursing home. Her children - well there is a lot of confusion about them including where they are and even how many there are. Willa is definitely an unreliable narrator. However she has a notebook where she writes t
Veronica ⭐️
5 heart-wrenching stars
This book grabbed my heart and squeezed until I couldn't breathe

Willa age 8 is a gumboot wearing, storytelling ball of energy. She is also the protector of her little sister Lottie

Willa age 33 is broken, a mother of two small boys, she scrubs and cleans until her home is spotless but still she feels worthless, a failure.

Willa age 93 is a gumboot wearing old lady full of sass and cheek. She is in the throes of dementia and keeps a notebook listing all the important things s

After reading a review for this book I really liked the sound of it, although it’s not a genre that I enjoy reading. So I must confess when the author so kindly mailed me a copy of this book I was really worried and in fact I’d convinced myself I was not going to like it as I just can’t get into fantasy or magical realism stories. And then I put off reading this book for many weeks after receiving it, but I knew I needed to get it read so I could review it for the author and for other reader
Firstly, I have to say what a beautiful cover this book has! And how utterly enchanting the story is 😊

In 1965 Willa Waters was a precocious eight-year-old, trying to keep her four-year-old sister Lottie safe. In 1990 Willa Waters was a thirty-three-year-old mother of two with a loving husband – but this Willa couldn’t let go of the past that continued to hold her in its memories. And in 2050 Willa Waters was a ninety-three-year-old woman who was being taken over by dementia; didn’t want to go in
Tabitha Bird
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
Well, I am the author so of course I've read it and can't wait for you to read it too!

I sincerely hope that readers embrace the Willas. They can't wait to meet you! They are very nervous, all three of them, but I have had a good talk to them all and we are mostly calm and ready to go. Oh, who are we kidding? We are all a ball of gumboot-tapping nervous energy, but so very keen to meet the readers none the less.

Eight-year-old Super gumboots Willa is especially excited. She's got her bravest red g
“You don’t have to be scared if you’re a man and you can stomp around. That’s why I’m Super Gumboots Willa, because with boots on my feet, my steps are bigger.”

1965 Willa Waters, aged 8

“Everywhere I look, the house has broken bits of my memories sticking up like bones under excavation.”
1990 Willa Waters, aged 33

“There are things to say. Very important things. Was it about the swings? Was it about a platypus? My mouth is chock-full of words and so few are making it out alive.”
2050 Willa Wat
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Jam drops, gumboots, a mango tree and a magic box containing a jar of water are just some of the objects that play an integral role in the Tabitha Bird’s debut novel, A Lifetime of Impossible Days. A book about life, love, family, memories, choices and chances, this magical novel will enchant you from beginning to end, as you come to embrace the three beautiful souls who define the very being of this novel.

Beginning in the year 1965, with an eight year old g
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

**4.5 stars**

A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird. (2019).

Willa is 8 in 1965 when she receives a mysterious box containing a jar of water and instructions: "one ocean: plant in the backyard". When she does, she creates a time slip to meet her future selves...
Willa is 33 in 1990 and a mother-of-two when her childhood self appears in her backyard. She's haunted by her dark past and on the brink of tragic decision...
Willa is 93
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With a little bit of magic in the form of a time shifting ocean planted in the garden, we visit Willa at three stages of her life. First we meet 8 year old Super Gumboots Willa, then 93 year old Silver Willa, suffering dementia but still a fan of gumboots, then Middle Willa who is 33 and thinking of doing something drastic to ease her pain. Can the Willas together help each other to right some of the wrongs they have suffered over a lifetime?

Tabitha Bird has written a beautiful and enchanting st
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
“I'm trying to think of something snarky to say to you, Katie. But at my age it might take a while and I haven't the time. Think of it yourself and pretend I said it.”

A Lifetime of Impossible Days is the first novel of Australian author, Tabitha Ann Bird. Impossible things keep happening to Willa Grace Waters. They are happening in 1965 to eight-year-old Willa in an ugly, leaky-roofed tin shack In Boonah where she lives with Mummy and Daddy and her little sister, Lottie.

They are happening in 19
Theresa Smith
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2019
‘We are all the ages we have ever been. We carry around our trauma. And if we have unfinished business at one of those ages we can’t move on to have a healthy adult life.’

A Lifetime of Impossible Days is a novel that has been popping up in my social media feeds with five stars ever since its release last week. It’s a story about childhood trauma, its lingering effects, and the possibility of healing. However, it tells this story in a very different and somewhat strangely wonderful manner. A Life
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My goodness this is such is beautiful book full of hope, redemption and learning to love yourself.

The synopsis covers this book perfectly and the alternating chapters of the three Willa’s: Super Gumboots Willa age 8, Middle Willa age 33, and Silver Willa age 90, work seamlessly together.
At first I wondered where the story was going and how it would work but about a third of the way through something clicked. I imagined layer upon layer of story, with each chapter revealing a new snippet, so at t
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
A Lifetime of Impossible Days is an impossibly enchanting debut from Tabitha Bird.

Silver Willa is 93 when she insists that her carer takes her into town on the first of June 2050 to post two Very Important Boxes.
Middle Willa is 33 years old when she receives a collection slip from the post office that she has every intention of ignoring.
Super Gumboots Willa is 8 years old when she finds a battered box, inside is a jar of water, accompanied by a note that says: 'One ocean: plant in the backyard.'
I have just finished a story that has touched my heart and soul so deeply. I cried bucket loads for nearly half the book, and I can't stop crying. It's not all sad crying, there's healing in these tears, healing, happiness and hope. I moved from one emotion to the next, on to the next, and found I couldn't and didn't want to put the book down.

"Grammy doesn't wipe my face, but she moves her chair closer. She says you shouldn't wipe people's tears away because they have the right to cry them. Inst
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ellen Read
Book Review by Pauline Reid 💧 a lifetime of impossible days by Tabitha Bird
Genre - Fantasy Fiction/ Magical Realism
What Is This Book About?
Where are we? We are in a town called, Boonah, Australia.
Chapter 1 - we look at an old lady called, Willa, a grand age of 93, we get a sense that this lady has alzheimers, or something like it, she is away with the fairies, certainly not there and Katie, who I assume is her caregiver, a totally grumpy one at that, that has no sense of humour and hasn't a
Tracey Anderson
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The cover is what drew me to this wonderfully enchanting book. I've never read anything quite like it before, and I doubt I will read anything like it again. That this could be a debut novel is amazing. From 1965 to 2050 I loved all three stages of Willa. They all broke my heart at various stages, but silver Willa and Super Gumboots Willa were the ones who stood out. It would take all three of them to fix what was broken. You can't change the past but maybe you can fix the future. Amaze-a-loo. ...more
Stephen Kerwin
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
I’ve been waiting for A Lifetime Of Impossible Days to be released ever since I first heard about it. I know the author, Tabitha Bird, as we both live in the same town the book is set in. In the past, I’ve visited Tabitha’s web page and read her blog. It was through this blog that I got a sense of her talent in putting words together and through these words, I felt the abuse and trauma that have visited her during her lifetime, but also the love she has for her family and the strength of charact ...more
Hiba Arrame
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There are certain books that open their way to your most vulnerable parts first with words that cut like daggers but leave no trace, and then with words that soften your soul and flow as light as cotton.

Three Willas, three years, one life, and two versions of the same story. What would Willa be without her childhood trauma? What would Willa be if she had kept bottling the memories and forcing them into the corners of her mind and the folds of her heart.

I am not usually one for magical realism,
Cass Moriarty
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every so often, a book comes along that reaffirms the glory and beauty of life. Tabitha Bird has gifted us this wonder in the pages of her debut novel, A Lifetime of Impossible Days (Penguin Random House 2019). This story is a fantastical mix of literary fiction and magical realism. As readers, we are asked to suspend our disbelief from the very first pages as we embark on a journey that is both deeply rooted in trauma but also firmly attached to the healing power of love, truth and self-forgive ...more
I'm not sure what genre this is...time travelling, fantasy, pure literature or just unique. There is one element of fantasy - the 93 yo Willa posts two parcels via the Post Office and they both arrive to the correct address on the right day; to think Australia Post is that efficient is pure fantasy.
The author is a story teller. She tells of a young 8 year old Willa who tells stories to her sister in an attempt to block out the violence and abuse of her father. She tells of a 93 yo Willa who post
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On all my bookclub feeds lately, Lifetime of Impossible Days is popping up everywhere! So I didn’t even look to see what it was about really. Started reading and was a tad confused until I read the blurb on the back and saw it is a time slip book. That then made a bit more sense to me! Willa time -travels between 3 stages of her life, 8 year old Super Gumboots Willa, Middle Willa and Silver Willa. It’s a story about childhood trauma and healing. Cups of tea and jam drops. The writing is so lyric ...more
Jeanette Lewis
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aussie-authors
At first glance this book appears to be a fantasy of having the ability to deliver a time slip in order to change the past but it is about domestic violence, trauma, abuse and the need to mentally escape into an imaginary world. The problem with a too strong an imaginary world is that it can take over life thus creating a mind incapable of recognising reality and causing a delusional mental state of reality. For those who have experienced trauma or abuse in their lives this book will be more pro ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, gifted
A Lifetime of Impossible Days is a beautiful, deeply moving, heart-twanging debut, depicting a woman at three crucial stages of life and she grapples with past trauma and deep-rooted guilt. It's the sort of story that tears you open, and leaves you crying the right kind of tears. A dose of whimsy and magic makes the difficult core something readers can access, but it is still a confronting read at times. Readers should note triggers for child sexual abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence, att ...more
Jodie (Sunshinejode) W
Sometimes a book comes along that gives you all the feels and you connect to it on such an emotional level as I did with “A Lifetime of Impossible Days” debut novel for Tabitha Bird. There were tears, moments I held my breath, times I just stopped and paused and bouts of sadness for the Willa’s. This book is truly a gift, one that weaves a unique storyline that you just get caught up in, as you enter a magical world with a time slip.
We are introduced to Silver Willa first from the year 2050 a gu
Tracey (Life and Literature)
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
I love when you get to the end of a book and you ended up getting so much more than what you expected when you first started reading. What a beautifully written book.

A Lifetime of Impossible Days is such a magical read. 8 year old Willa receives a mysterious box in the post with the instructions to plant the contained jar of water in the backyard. By doing so Willa creates the ability to slip into the future to visit herself at the ages of 33 and 93.

And that's where things went beyond the magic
An overall charming novel that deals with difficult dysfunctional family issues, but there are also some beautiful inventive elderly characters that I really warmed to.
I'm not normally keen on time jumping novels, or time travelling novels but this one has introduced some order to that sort of chaos with the judicious use of chapters.
It's a library book that I was able to read quickly and return in a couple of days.
Very pleased to have come across it.
It may need to include a trigger warning fo
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A poignant, clever, and amaze-a-loo debut about family, trauma and resilience sprinkled with moments of hope. So many ways to interpret Willa's intersecting timelines and each is handled with care.

Highly recommended as a book club read - we chose it for ours and had so much to chat about.
This was a beautiful, magical, heart-warming and emotional story.
It's extraordinarily difficult to describe the complex plot in few words, but here's my attempt: Via a backyard time-slip generated by an ocean poured from a jam jar, 8-year-old "Super Gumboots Willa" Waters meets her 93-year-old self, "Silver Willa", and together they attempt to help their troubled 33-year-old self, "Middle Willa" prevent something terrible from happening.
The book is illustrated with charming ocean and garden-them
Chapter Ichi
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever picked up a novel that is completely different to what you expected?

This novel delivers raw emotion and explores confronting themes, along with issues experienced in everyday human life.

The story follows Willa. It follows Willa at age 8, 33 and 93. My favourite Willa is 93 year old Willa, who provides comedic relief at times when 33 year old Willa is faced with the darkest memories of her past. This gumboots collecting Willa had me laughing and wishing I could sit and have tea and
Emily Maree
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
'A courageous and magical debut novel that reminds us that while we can’t change events from our past, we do have the power to change the story we tell ourselves about them.'

I just finished this story and I already miss the Willas.

The way Tabitha has wrote this book is so clever and beautiful. She changes her writing style to fit the age of the Willa who is currently telling the story and to me I just think that is so clever and it really gave you a better view on the personalities of 'each' Wi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Banksia Bay Beach Shack
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words
  • The Lost Summers of Driftwood
  • The Mother Fault
  • The Cottage at Rosella Cove
  • Allegra in Three Parts
  • Honeybee
  • All Our Shimmering Skies
  • The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan
  • The Morbids
  • The Wife and the Widow
  • The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle
  • Gulliver's Wife
  • The Cake Maker’s Wish
  • Six Minutes
  • The Survivors
  • The Girl in the Painting
  • Wearing Paper Dresses
See similar books…
In a bayside suburb of Queensland, Australia, Tabitha Bird grew up in a garden. It wasn’t much of a garden, but she told stories to ferns and weeds alike and gave herself something to hope in that was bigger than she was. Eventually, she had to leave the garden and do responsible things like grow up. When her own children came along she read stories with gumption and wild joy and got to thinking t ...more

Related Articles

Author, journalist, public intellectual, and (in recent years) comic book writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates is an Extremely Busy Person by any metric, and...
100 likes · 30 comments