You Take It From Here by Pamela Ribon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads: Practical, patient Danielle Meyers escaped her small Southern hometown as quickly as possible, landing herself in sunny Los Angeles as a successful homemaking consultant and recent divorcee. Her bossy, loud, impulsive best friend Smidge stayed behind in Ogden, Louisiana, and has succeeded quite soundly—wife, mother, karaoke superstar, social butterfly, and survivor of cancer. But when Smidge and Danielle reunite for their annual girls’ vacation, Smidge reveals that the cancer is back and terminal, and Danielle vows to do anything to make the last bit of Smidge’s life easier. And Smidge has just one favor that she wants to ask: She needs Danielle to move back to Ogden and take over Smidge’s family after she dies, marrying Henry, and raising Jenny. When the friend you love “the mostest” wants you to make her last wish come true, how do you say no?
My thoughts: I didn't know what to expect with this book. I read other reviews and thought it would be a great chick lit. I found it had pros and cons and liked it enough but fell short of loving it.
Smidge, Dani's best friend has lung cancer again and she is going to die. Here is my first issue. It is contrived to elicit tears when Smidge will die. In the meantime, Smidge wants to teach Dani how to be Smidge so she can continue raising her daughter and be a companion to Henry, Smidge's husband.
The second issue I had was that I did not like Smidge. She was mean and manipulating. She had the personality of Michael Vick's pit bulls and did not let up. People in town feared her much more than loved her.
Danielle was a weak protagonist. Tucker, Henry's business partner compared Danielle to a good little doggy who came running when her master came running. The analogy is fitting. Danielle came running over every real or perceived emergency Smidge screamed about even after Tucker pointed out that Smidge needed to turn to her real family and Danielle was in the way.
No matter how the circumstances played out, the story was still about an incredibly unhealthy friendship and unbalanced terminally ill woman with major control issues.
On the bright side, Smidge's character is well fleshed out. I simply found little merit in having her as a friend and being manipulated.
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*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.