Sunday, July 29, 2012

You Take it From Here (Book Review)

   Having just returned from six days in New Orleans, I have three and a half thousand beautiful stories to share with you guys. I really should have been writing constantly all week long to keep up with the inspiration, and in fact I was scribbling things on hotel stationery every day, but I had almost no internet and was too busy enjoying the magic of the French Quarter and my Handsome guy anyway.

   Tonight, instead of Nawlins stuff, I just finished another VEEEERRRY interesting book and have a review to share. Got a few minutes? 

   Another generous gift from Julia, my most recent selection has been You Take it From Here by Pamela Ribon. It's a new release, and I actually get butterflies in my stomach to realize that as I read these 311 pages, most of it at home floating on our 97-degree pool filled with dragon flies, Ms. Ribon was touring the south talking to her fans about her newest novel.

   One of these days I will finish a book in time to catch its author on tour somewhere and, while snagging an autograph, find time to discuss the original literature at length with its creator. I would really liked to meet Pamela Ribon in particular. She relays through her writing a lot of warmth and empathy that I think would be perfectly delicious in person.

   Okay, the book.

   I liked it a whole lot. I actually like it more and more as it sits in my Creole-stuffed belly, and I expect to want to read it again and also share it with friends and family. It seems to belong to a genre I would not normally say is among my favorite (chic lit maybe?), but that doesn't matter one bit.

   You Take it From Here is immediately engaging, infuriatingly truthful, and wildly thought provoking about big, heavy topics. It weaves together maternal abandonment, cancer, coming of age, divorce, friendship, romance, and more. Ribon effortlessly juggles the weight of so many important themes at once that I am stunned to accept this as fiction. The wanna-be writer inside me kept thinking, Only real life could be so complex and yet so accurate, it's just crazy how she orchestrated this much at once. Pamela Ribon, you have my respect. I found it very easy to relax into your story and let it flow over me.

   Reading this book's teaser might tell you what it's about technically, but only by devouring the actual story cover to cover can you experience all the author wants to give you. Just for fun, though, a sample:

On the heels of a divorce, all Danielle Meyers wants is her annual vacation 
with sassy, life-long best friend, Smidge — complete with umbrella cocktails by an infinity pool — 
but instead she’s hit with the curveball of a lifetime. 
Smidge takes Danielle to the middle of nowhere to reveal a diagnosis of terminal cancer, 
followed by an unusual request: “After I’m gone, I want you to finish the job
Marry my husband. Raise my daughter. I’m gonna teach you to how to be Smidge 2.0.”

   I strongly suggest that you read this book if you fall into any of these categories:

  • You have ever had a best girlfriend you loved more than a sister, who might even compete with your husband for space in your heart.
  • You are a child of divorce.
  • You have lost anyone to cancer, but especially a parent, and even more importantly your mother.
  • You have left your hometown for a new life but feel that gravitational pull to return even though you are an independent grown up. Especially if the town you left is in the south.
  • You have ever fallen in lust before falling in love, with the same man.
  • You are SICK of being bossed around by strong willed, controlling, arrogant women.
  • You are a strong willed, controlling, arrogant woman yourself. (I admit to hating Smidge right at her introduction, and I was actually relieved when she was soon to be no longer hurting and controlling her friends and family. I know, I am an awful person. But Ribon wrote a terribly difficult character, and I wonder is she maybe intended her readers to detest this cancer patient so we could let go more easily.)
  • You are raising a teen aged daughter who is closer to adulthood than you would like. 
  • You are a woman. Mother, daughter, sister, friend, any of it. 
    There is something in here for all of us, ladies, and I  hope you give it a few days of your life. I hope you encourage someone you love to read it, too, so you can discuss the emotional tide that will inevitably happen.

   Thank you for sending the book, sweet Julia! And thanks ever so much for writing it, Pamela. I am much better than pleasantly surprised by a new genre; I feel good all over. Just warmed and challenged and inspired to appreciate my health better; to see things from other viewpoints more often; and to love my people more deeplyReading has, once again, enriched my life. Just as it should. 

Read Outside Your Zone


  1. sounds like a good read. Not a fan of chick lit either - actually put down 50 Shades about halfway through to return to a biography of an 18th century paper artist. Must be getting old.

    1. LOL Instead of old, I like "mature" or maybe "refined..." And that is a compliment. LOL
      Yep, this book changed my attitude towards chick lit for sure, I recommend it. Maybe your blue hats would like it? xo

  2. I've been curious about this book since Julia started posting about it, and then when you got a copy, and now, seeing you call me on the carpet like this, "You have lost anyone to cancer, but especially a parent, and even more importantly your mother," clearly I need to read it.

    I love your book reviews, M. I'm a bit biased, though, I know.


    1. Calling you to this carpet is just to give you a big ole rabid cow-wolverine-bear-coyote hug, M. Love you greatly. More often than you might believe, I think about what it was like for your Mom, preparing to say goodbye to such a young little girl.

      (And I am so glad you like my book reviews, even when they are misspelled a little. hahaha!!!)


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