Audiobook Review: The To-Do List by JC Miller


Between unending housework and thankless efforts to appease a loutish husband and acid-tongue teens, Ginny Cooper’s to-do list never seems to get done. Her guilty pleasure—fantasizing about her husband’s demise—her weakness—the drive-thru at Arby’s. On the job as head librarian at the county’s obsolete library, tedium reigns. One afternoon Ginny innocently stumbles upon a dating website, where the rabbit hole awaits.

Who is Ginny Cooper? She is every woman who knows the exact number of calories in a Snickers bar, every woman who has ever struggled with her weight. She is every woman who has grappled with the gray areas, every woman who has wanted to escape her own life. At times the reader will want to reach between the pages, shake her, and talk some sense into her. But Ginny will have to navigate her own road. And through it all, we root for her.

Ginny’s childhood memories of her fading hometown provide a bittersweet backdrop for The To-Do List.

Audiobook Review

The narration is filled with unique voices and infused with emotion at the right places.  The narrator skillfully pulled me into Ginny’s world of list making and crossing tasks off the list. What a world Ginny lives in! She is a wife, mother, daughter, friend, supervisor, and librarian. Miller weaved a semi-realistic tale, with vibrant threads of humor and sagacity adding saucy color to an otherwise dystopian story.

With nervous vocal intonations, the narrator began each chapter with a new to-do list. This reminded me of how I start my work day and the unsettling emotions wrought while jotting down a list of seemingly important tasks. Her incomplete to-do list identified her lost sense of self, while trying to be everything to those around her. Wanting to escape her life, she dabbled with a dating site, which won a coveted spot on her list of to-do’s.

Sheckells set the story’s tone and dramatized the mood perfectly – a nervous mother desperately seeking create a semblance of order in her chaotic world. Her reading of The To-Do List was meticulously paced and individually toned for each character.

As I listened to the story, I became caught up in various scenes. This was priceless, since I could not read the words for myself or skip over to see what happened. Miller gave me a glimpse into Ginny’s mind, and Sheckells unlocked the door and allowed me to walk with Ginny and observe her transformation from a beleaguered wife and mother to a woman seizing control and commandeering her own success. 

Disclosure: This audiobook was "adopted", courtesy of Jess the Audiobookworm, in exchange for an honest review



Author's Bibliography

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Buckle up your Birkenstocks and travel back to 1975. Discover (or relive) the pre-digital age in Arcata, a remote Bohemian college town on the northern edge of California. Meet Kit, a hard-working, bookish senior, on track for graduation—that is, until she falls for Jonathan, one-time bestselling author, now her stand-in professor. Jonathan, a master in the art of deception, isn’t who he appears to be. As their bond grows, Kit’s desire blinds her to the truth— a shocking discovery shatters her faith and ultimately tests her integrity. From the first blush of fall quarter to the final breath of spring, hard lessons will be learned. To “graduate” into an uncertain future, Jonathan and Kit must first embrace the present—including the injustices, ambiguities and absolute beauty of their lives. Beneath the ever-changing Humboldt skies they forge ahead; they stumble and sometimes fall. Heliotrope, a coming-of age story for the ages.

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Reeling from his failed comeback and ruined marriage, washed-out actor Ian James (née Isaac Janowitz) flees Los Angeles for a two-week respite in Northern California’s remote Marble Mountains—Bigfoot country. His time alone in the wilderness begins to peel away the layers of his Hollywood persona. After a fateful meeting with a beguiling woman, Ian begins to question his heart. In a moment of clarity, Isaac ditches his publicist and finds himself in Redding, living with invisibility at the Vagabond Motel. Professor Ruth Hill is burnt out teaching photography at Redding’s Shasta College, eager for her upcoming retirement. But for unexplained reasons, despite weekly therapy sessions, her panic attacks have escalated. Her artistic slump persists. Looking back, she regrets a life without risk; looking forward, she dreads a meaningless future. Going over her proof sheets one morning, she stumbles upon a series of striking thumbnails, reigniting her passion and creativity. Readers will root for Isaac and Ruth as they grapple with their chance encounter on the mountain and search for meaning in their repellent, yet intense attraction. Their paths do cross again, but when confronted with the possibility of enduring love, Ruth’s cynicism creeps in; Isaac’s self-defeating beliefs take hold. For these two damaged souls, it just may be too late.

About the author

JC (Jeanne) Miller is an avid reader and table tennis enthusiast. She resides in Northern California.

Visit her website

About the narrator

Sara Sheckells, Owner/Operator of Sara Sounds, shares over 20 years of professional experience with her clients. A long-term career in higher education paired with on-going voice and narration training inform her recording work. She now works full-time in the narration and voice over realm.
Visit her website