I was lucky enough to receive a no-strings-attached advanced reader’s copy of Pamela Ribon’s latest novel “You Take It From Here.” Oh, you guys. This book is so good. It even surpasses “Going in Circles” as my fave Ribon book, and I really loved that book, too.
In a nutshell, the plot revolves around Danny/Danielle and Smidge. They’re lifelong, “I’d do anything for you” best friends. That friendship is tested when Smidge, suffering from a terminal cancer, asks Danny to take over her life when she dies. That is, take over everything – marry her husband, raise her daughter, and basically fill the Smidge-filled void when she goes.
Reading that plot point, it sounds ridiculous, over the top and not remotely likely. But Ribon manages to make the request utterly typical of a character like Smidge, a bossy Southern gal who knows what’s best for everyone, always.
The book is written as a long letter to Smidge’s daughter Jenny. Sometimes I was so involved with the narrative, I’d forget that the “you” Danny mentions is Jenny, and it would take me a minute to get my bearings. But overall, this adds a compelling layer to the story – it’s explaining why things happened the way they did to a very, very integral person in the story. I loved this conceit, and really think it worked.
I’ve been reading Ribon’s blog for years, and it’s taking all of my effort not to refer to her as Pamie throughout this post, because I feel like I know her so well even though we’ve never met. Because of this, I couldn’t help but picture her as the main character, and frequently mentioned friend AB Chao as Smidge. I know that the characters are heightened, and that they are definitely not carbon copies of real people, but I can’t be the only one who saw these resemblances, right?
Definite thumbs up from me. As always, I can’t wait to see what Ribon comes up with next!
Filed in: Books