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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

All You Could Ask For, Mike Greenberg

From the Publisher:
All You Could Ask For, debut novel by Mike Greenberg, cohost of ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning, is a tender and insightful story of friendship and love, heartbreak and renewal, played out in the lives of three unforgettable women.
Brooke has been happily married to her college sweetheart for fifteen years. Even after the C-section, the dog poop, the stomach viruses and the coffee breath, Scott always winks at her in just the right moments. That is why, for her beloved, romantic, successful husband's fortieth birthday, she is giving him pictures. Of herself. Naked.
Newlywed Samantha learns of her husband's cheating heart when she finds the goods on his computer.
High-powered career woman Katherine works with heartbreaker Phillip, the man who hurt her early on in her career.
Brooke, Samantha, and Katherine don't know each other, but their stories are about to intertwine in ways no one could have imagined.
And all three are about to discover the power of friendship to conquer adversity, the satisfaction of unexpected delights, the incredible difference one human being can have on other lives--and that they have all they could ask for, as long as they have each other.

I really enjoyed this book that begins with the stories of three disparate women and brings them together in a remarkable way. I thought it was really well done.  Funny and serious, heartbreaking and hopeful.

Strengths: The man who wrote this captured women's voices incredibly well.  The character development was strong, and I appreciated that we knew each of the characters well individually before they crossed paths. The author was able to infuse the story with humor even when discussing difficult situations, which is what real life is like often. The topic was very timely for me, as I've had several friends diagnosed with breast cancer in the last year.

**spoiler alert**

Weaknesses: I know that in the situations I've seen, my friends have relied heavily on their partner for strength, compassion, clarity, and courage over the course of their diagnosis and treatment, and that ultimately, that's brought them closer together.  I can't imagine how the one character in this story who did not ever tell her husband was able to hold it together, and I am unsure it's realistic.  How could you hold all that in?  It's so big. I also don't think it's a good idea. I am probably, however, being Pollyanna.  People hide things from their spouses all the time, although I'm not one of them and can't imagine even trying.  Even though I felt it was a weakness, I think it was more me being judgmental of the character than of the writing or the story itself.

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