Go Ahead & Like It by Jacqueline Suskin {Book Review}

I love lists.  You can write them quickly or neatly, with bullet points or numbered.  You can even use them to make it feel like you are not walking in circles, but actually getting something accomplished.  (Ever make a to-do list and mark thins off as you go?)  It helps to organize your life and keep you sane when your brain is full of so many other things.  Maybe it my desire for order showing through the chaos lately, but I find making lists calming.

Jacqueline Suskin uses lists in different way and shares the reasons how and why in her book Go Ahead & Like It.

“Making these lists is a celebrations, a way to name and note the simplicities of life and call them sacred.”

Reading the above quote in the introduction, I was not quite sure what the author meant.  By the end of the book I understood her point, making a list slows us down and forces us to look around instead at all the things around us that are going right.  Oh how easy it is to complain, “I woke up to a mess because the kids got into my craft supplies this morning, we missed Sunday School because of corrections and no clothes being ironed, and I missed half of church when a kid could not control themselves.”

To slow down means looking outside of ourselves and appreciating life around us, “I like having cashew milk chocolate shakes, I like listening to new audio dramas in the car, I like visiting our ‘regular’ restaurant after church and catching up with the workers there, I like getting a surprise free ice cream at a new ice cream shop we finally got to try, I like naps on Sunday afternoons with my husband, and I like reading new books.”  What a different view each of those statements gives for the day.  Thought it is easy to dwell on the feelings in the first, I like the feeling the second one brings so much better.

Opening Go Ahead & Like It, you will immediately notice that it is not written in the format of a normal book.  For starters, most pages are either full page pictures or artistically styled lists.  If you look closely, not every list is actually a list, but the text.  Even the introduction was written to look like handwriting on a page.  George thought someone had started writing in the book before I had a chance to read it.  🙂  If you rush through the book, thinking the lack of page fulls of text means there is not a lot to glean from it, you will miss the experience of thinking through what is written and the added benefit of ‘a picture being worth a thousand words’.

Go Ahead & Like It is a great reminder to look around and enjoy the things around us that we like, to take not of them in less than ideal situation and to mark times in our lives by remembering.  Here is a list I would have made as a kid at playing my grandparents’ place:

  • i like climbing beechnut trees on fall days
  • i like prying open the nuts and eating the meat inside
  • i like pretending I could survive in the ‘wild’ if needed
  • i like climbing the sycamore tree on the hill
  • i like being higher than the roof of the house
  • i like that we can get up that high before Grandma sees us and makes us come down
  • i like the wide open field
  • i like having enough cousins and family to play a game of kickball
  • i like taking ‘rides’ on Grandpa’s large jack in the garage (it was big enough for a kid to stand on and another to crank them up several feet into the air)
  • i like pretending the propane tank was a horse
  • i like pretending the propane tank was a dessert island with sharks around us
  • i like Grandma’s garden behind the garage
  • i like Sunday lunches with the entire extended family
  • i like the smell of soda in the plastic cups used each week (my parents now have those cups and the smell of soda in them brings back a flood of memories)
  • i like giving my Grandpa a hard time about smoking, knowing he would do it anyway
  • i like it when Grandpa would have maple candies at Christmas
  • i like it when we were allowed to have one of those special candies

While none of these things are Earth shattering or worthy of a headline on the nightly news, they are the simple things that make my memories of childhood bring a smile to my face.  That is enough to make them worthy of recording in my opinion.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

This post contains affiliate links.

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