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The Ten Best Days of My Life by Adena…

The Ten Best Days of My Life

by Adena Halpern

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I thought it was chick lit from the cover (Women's feet! Dead giveaway!) And it kind of is. But funny, a fast-paced read, and, I confess, I teared up a bit at the end. ( )
  mkschoen | Jan 22, 2010 |
This was a great, quick and easy read. Boy if Heaven is anything like she describes then I can really see what they mean by 7th Heaven. You end up in the house of your dreams, no cellulite!, eat whatever you want without gaining weight, never have to clean, etc. Alex is determined to stay here with her grandparents and her Uncle Morris and gets down to work on her essay. It is hilarious reading about some of the escapades she got into during life. It was also really touching to learn that she really isn’t as shallow and spoiled as she first appears. I actually had a few tears in my eyes at the end of the book which was a little embarrassing considering I was in a train full of people.

See my other reviews here: http://debbiesworld.wordpress.com/ ( )
  dasuzuki | Jan 29, 2009 |
The Ten Best Days of My Life is the story of Alex Dorenfield (and her beloved dog, Peaches). Alex is shocked when she finds herself in Heaven after being brutally hit by a car on a late night/early morning dog-walking session. However, things aren’t as bad as they first appear to be. Alex is thrilled to meet up with her grandparents and beloved uncle in Heaven. She meets the cutest guy, Adam, in line waiting to get into Heaven - and is it just coincidence that he ends up living next door to her?

Once Alex discovers the benefits of Seventh Heaven (the highest possible level of Heaven one can achieve), she is delirious with happiness. A closet the size of a bedroom full of designer clothes, shoes, and accessories, her dream house, a cute guy next door, and being able to eat anything and everything without gaining weight (and no cellulite!). What else could a girl want?
Therein lies the problem. One morning, shortly after arriving in Seventh Heaven, Alex’s guardian angel drops by for a quick chat. It seems that “the establishment” in Heaven isn’t quite sure whether Alex really deserves to be in Seventh Heaven or whether she should be sent back to one of the lower levels (still nice, but nothing compared to Seventh). In order to prove that she belongs, Alex is asked to write an essay chronicling the ten best days of her life to demonstrate that while her life was short, it was worthwhile. This journey of reflection and self-introspection is what provides the heart and soul of The Ten Best Days of My Life.

At the beginning of the novel and through the first few parts of her essay, Alex seems demonstrably spoiled and whiny. Her general level of self-importance is irritating, and she seems to have a very strong sense of entitlement. While not difficult to like, she is difficult to respect. For example, her constant use of the phrase “miracle child” to describe herself is off-putting and generally seems in bad taste. However, this seems to be a deliberate move on the author’s part. By characterizing Alex as a rather selfish narcissist, she leaves quite a lot of room for character growth. When that development finally comes, it is satisfying and leaves the reader with a sense of delight.

While The Ten Best Days of My Life is Adena Halpern’s debut in fiction, she has previously written what can best be characterized as a fashion memoir entitled Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown. Having read that book, it is easy to see where the inspiration for Alex comes from; Halpern has written what she knows. Though sometimes this can lead to monotony, in this case it pays off. She retains the wit from her previous work but proves that she has more than a good sense of humor. The ability to craft a solid, enjoyable story from scratch is a difficult one. Halpern has proven her talents as a writer as fiction and I look forward to reading her next work.
Another chick lit-type book was recently released about Heaven that people will inevitably compare to this novel: Earthly Pleasures by Karen Neches. Which is better? It’s difficult to say. Though they are both about Heaven, the novels themselves are very different. Halpern’s work is more fluff, syrupy sweetness and reflections on life and what is important. Neches, on the other hand, seems to dig a little deeper under the surface and crafts more of a mystery. Which one should you read? If you like the genre, read both. They are different enough that you’ll not feel like you’re reading the same thing twice. The real question is, whose version of heaven would you rather visit?

The Ten Best Days of My Life is not grand literature. However, it is an immensely sweet novel that will endear itself to anyone who wants a book which will make them smile. Fans of chick lit should put this on their reading list for 2008.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book and reprinted at http://www.skrishnasbooks.com ( )
  skrishna | Jun 23, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452289408, Paperback)

Twenty-nine-year-old Alexandra Dorenfield suddenly finds herself in heaven after an unfortunate encounter with a MINI Cooper. The seventh—and highest—level of heaven to be exact. Her dog, Peaches, is with her; she is reunited with her beloved grandparents; she has the wardrobe of a movie star; and she lives in the house of her dreams next door to a handsome guy. This is heaven!

But there’s a catch. Alex must prove she led a fulfilling existence by writing an essay on the ten best days of her life—or she will be demoted to a lower level of heaven, where the clothes are last year’s styles, the men aren’t quite as handsome, and, worst of all, Peaches and her family won’t be nearby. Witty and inspiring, this divine debut novel dares to ask a material girl—and the rest of us—what makes life precious.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:47 -0400)

In this hilarious and heartwarming fist novel, 29-year-old Alexandra Dorenfield suddenly finds herself in heaven. In order to stay, she must prove she led a fulfilling existence by writing an essay on the 10 best days of her life, in this work that dares to ask what really makes life precious.… (more)

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