Gina's Reviews > By the Time You Read This

By the Time You Read This by Lola Jaye
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's review
Sep 17, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: book-club, challenges-2012, death-parent, family, women-s-fiction, young-adult, fathers
Read from January 03, 2011 to January 10, 2012

When 30 year old Kevin Bates is diagnosed with a terminal illness he decides to write some advice for his then 5 year old daughter, Lola, to be given to her when she turns 12 covering the years until the year she turns 30, coined The Manual. The Manual is given to Lola when she is 12 and she couldn't be more excited to have something from her dad. The Manual comes with rules: Lola is to only read one chapter a year on her birthday; she cannot read ahead. She can refer back to previously read chapters at any point. There are many miscellaneous advice sections that she can read at any time that the topic is brought up in her life.

The books follows Lola from the day she gets her Manual until her 30th birthday and last entry her father has written her. It sounds like it could be pretty emotional right?? Well, I hate to tell you this, but it didn't tug at my heartstrings. Yes I liked the story and seeing Lola grow up and mature with the help of her father's advice. However, Lola wasn't a very likeable character for me. She was OBSESSED with the manual. It was actually kind of creepy. I could also see where her obsession with the Manual and her dad's advice was having bad effects on her life. There wasn't a man alive who could be as perfect as her dad, so she self-destructed any relationship she was in. No man could stand anywhere close to the pedestal she had her dad on in her mind. Lola was very closed off with very few friends. Only 1 close friend, Carla, who grew up next door to her stuck with her the entire story. She took his advice to the extreme which, like I said, had adverse effects on her life. She was extremely distant from her mother when she remarried and then had a baby. I was very annoyed when Lola never mentioned the name of her stepfather or sister until the end. Throughout the story she referred to him as Bingo Caller and to her sister as The Sprog. What the hell? She was even told in the Manual to accept if her mom got remarried and to accept and love any new siblings. She was just plain selfish. When she finally got to the last chapter, I found myself kind of happy that this was it and maybe she could finally learn to be her own woman and change her ways. One other thing that annoyed me was her friend Corey constantly calling her "Lo-Bag". That was the main reason that I tagged this as young adult. It was just so immature and he continued calling her this into adulthood.

But I have to say that I struggled to finish. It wasn't painful and I didn't find myself wishing it were just over, other than the Manual to be over. I mainly found myself annoyed at her selfish and self-destructive behavior. I am only going to give this 2 stars because it really isn't a great story and the writing is very simple and plain.

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Reading Progress

01/04/2012 page 100
01/10/2012 page 172
58.0% "I'm really enjoying this book." 7 comments
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