Good Luck With That
By Kristan Higgins
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins is beloved for her heartfelt novels filled with humor and wisdom. Now, in her newest novel, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, she tackles an issue every woman deals with: body image and self-acceptance.
Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.
For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it’s coming to terms with the survivor’s guilt she’s carried around since her twin sister’s death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life. For Georgia, it’s about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother’s and brother’s ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.
But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson’s dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves.
A novel of compassion and insight, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT tells the story of two women who learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.
This year’s must-read is a remarkable, unique relationship novel that few could write with sensitivity and raw vulnerability as this author has. She shares the good or bad feelings women may have about our appearance, and how we often choose friends based on appearance rather than similar interests. These three friends from summer weight-loss camp days are defined so well, I almost felt as if I know them, or that they know me, how I think and feel.
Emerson, Marley, and Georgia met at weight loss camp the summer before they turned 18. They enjoyed each other’s company. Nobody called them fat or other unflattering names. And that last day at camp, all three girls could look back at with fond memories as one of the very best days ever.
Marley is now a personal chef, who cooks and delivers unique, balanced meals to many regular clients, and small events on request. Her weight is still a barrier for many people, especially men, but she is happy with most of her life. She goes to yoga and runs. She comes from a beautiful Italian family in which love is experienced around the dinner table at her parents’ home. She has always felt acutely the loss of her twin sister, Frankie, who died when they were four. Frankie was a much smaller baby who never could get to a size normal for her age. She was sick all the time. Marley thrived, and was always a bit larger than average. Marley rents an apartment from one of the three besties, Georgia. Georgia purchased a townhouse, and Marley’s apartment has a commercial kitchen in it.
Georgia’s family is very different. Divorced for many years, her mother never worked, thanks to an inheritance from her family. She always criticized Georgia for her weight. The only good thing coming from her brother is his son, Mason. Georgia’s stepmother is only a few years older than her, and she has two delightfully fun stepsisters. Georgia worked as an attorney for only a short time, and now is a preschool teacher. She loves teaching, doing only pro bono legal work. She is divorced from the love of her life, Rafael, and hasn’t seen him for five years.
Georgia and Marley get a call that Emerson is in the hospital and wants to see them. Before she dies, far too young, she gives them the list they had made as teens that best day ever, of things to do when they were slender, with a plea that they would fulfill their wishes. What follows next, and the journal Emerson wrote to “Other Emerson”, her future skinny self, will break your heart and put it back together with healing, laughter, and understanding for others.
The characters are incredibly well defined. I appreciate Georgia, Marley, and Emerson. Whether one has had a weight challenge, or a huge weight challenge, or anything else one dislikes themselves for, a reader might see herself in these beautiful ladies. I did. I get it. The insight into the those who have endured the loneliness and bullying of being “different” is reflected so real that one could see these ladies as their best friends…if one isn’t so preoccupied with their own appearance that they hang with the mean girls of the crowd.
If one is looking for a light and happy novel, Good Luck with That doesn’t start out that way. At first it was so real that I had a hard time continuing, as kids can be cruel, and so can adults. The biggest challenge for Marley and Georgia is to make peace with who they are and go forward – and there are surprising twists and turns for each of them. Keep at least one box of tissues handy, as there may be many tears mingled in with the laughter of watching the ladies try to meet some of those teenage – and adult – goals. Some of the moments I enjoyed were those in celebration of who Marley and Georgia are in their respective families and relationships. This is a novel that should be read by women of all ages, including young or new adults, While the novel has some very poignant, painful times, it is worth working through those to see what is possible. Happiness, peace, and yes, even victory are celebrated amidst many LOL scenes. I highly recommend this year’s must-read!