I’ll Take What She Has by Samantha Wilde is a story of two friends, Nora and Annie, who have known each other since they were in kindergarten and went to school together until eighth grade. When Nora moved away, they promised to be friends forever and continued to stay in touch through letters. When a teaching position opened up at an elite private high school, Dixbie, outside of Boston, Annie called up Nora right away and told her she had to apply. After being accepted to teach English, Nora and Annie are reunited at last. While living at Dixbie School, both friends struggle through the ups and downs of adulthood: marriage, babies, and the sisterhood of friendship. Nora and Annie start to realize that being best friends forever isn’t always easy, but if a friendship means enough to you, you will fight as hard as you can to keep it.
Annie is a whiny feminist who believes in being a stay at home mom. She complains about being a mom and how hard it is, but then goes on to say that she wouldn’t trade it in for anything. She judges other moms for getting jobs and putting their children in daycare. Annie also has a personal vendetta against having a beautiful white wedding, by insisting on wearing black and no makeup.
Nora always knew that she was put on the earth to have children, but hasn’t been able to conceive since saying “I do” to Alfie, less than a year ago. She struggles with the fact that she was adopted as a baby and feels as if she doesn’t have a “blood family” to call her own. She can sometimes be too nice and forgiving, which makes others sometimes take advantage of her kindness. Nora becomes tired of Annie’s constant complaining and throws herself into a friendship with Cynthia, the new teacher on campus, even though it seems as if they have nothing in common, except the fact that Cynthia is married to Nora’s ex-boyfriend, David.
Annie, who wanted children but wanted to pursue her career as an artist first, has had two “accident” babies. Although she loves her children and loves being a mom (most of the time,) she yearns to find the balance between being a good mom and finding time for herself. Nora is jealous of Annie’s life with her perfect partner, Ted, and their children, Hannah and Lily. Annie is jealous of Nora’s friendship with Cynthia, as well as, Annie’s “perfect” family that she was adopted into.
Many times while I was reading this book, I laughed out loud. I’ll Take What She Has does not sugarcoat adulthood and touches on difficult problems that many face in life. As we get older, it gets harder to preserve friendships; it’s even harder to make new ones. Best friends can’t be made overnight and when one loses a best friend, sometimes they feel like they’re losing part of themselves. Nora and Annie notice parts of their lives falling apart as their friendship starts to disappear.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book; the story kept me entertained and interested. I liked how each chapter flip-flopped between Nora and Annie. I was able to see both sides of each woman’s story. At times, the story became a bit repetitive, but if you can get past that, you can enjoy this novel for what it is, an inspiring story of friendship and parenthood.
I’ll take What She Has goes on sale February 26, 2013.
I was given an ARC e-book of this book in return for an honest review.