Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'll Take What She Has

Annie and Nora are best friends working at a boarding school in New England, a place they both love.  Nora is the sensitive, kind and caring friend who is anxious to become pregnant and desperately wants a family of her own.  Annie is opinionated, a "bit of an Eeyore" as she calls herself, a stay at home mother of two young girls who is tired of constantly defending her decision to forego her career to be a mom.
When Cynthia arrives at Dixbie, Nora is easily taken in by this glamorous new addition to the faculty, while Annie feels there must be more to the story than they are being told. 
Because of Nora's easy acceptance of Cynthia, the life-long friendship Nora and Annie have shared suffers.  In addition, Annie is feeling especially alone as Suze, a fellow stay at home mother, returns to the workforce.
Annie begins to talk with her counselor, Meg, about the anger she has about her life - from having to defend her choice to stay home and raise her children, to friend issues with Nora, to struggles with finances, and to her feelings about Cynthia who seems to be taking over everything at Dixbie.  There are no easy answers, although Annie does learn a great deal about herself.
Annie and Nora take turns narrating the chapters in I'll Take What She Has, and although it is Annie's story that I related to the most, Nora's narration shares her struggles as well - her quest to get pregnant, the break-up with her ex-boyfriend David, who is now her new friend Cynthia's husband creating a bit of awkwardness, her friendship with Annie and its struggles, as well as her sex therapist Elle's never ending visit are things Nora must deal with.
Wilde's characters offer a bit of humor and although this perhaps has some chick-lit characteristics, I feel as though this crosses over into women's fiction (which to me means it is also a novel with some deeper meaning or message). I'll Take What She Has is a bit Jennifer Weiner with another bit Lisa Patton. Incidentally, Samantha Wilde, the author, is the daughter of novelist Nancy Thayer, showing that great writing must be in their genes.

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