Book Review: All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg

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Rating: 4 / 5

Brooke is a Greenwich Connecticut stay-at-home mom who knows she has been lucky with her husband, Scott, and their twin children.  To celebrate Scott’s upcoming 40th birthday, Brooke decides to surprise him with nude photos, and enlists the help of a local photographer and dear friend.  Samantha just married Robert, an up-and-coming politician.  On their honeymoon in Hawaii, Samantha discovers that her new husband has been unfaithful.  The third female protagonist in All You Could Ask For is Katherine, the highest paid female Wall Street executive.  Although Katherine has successfully climbed the corporate ladder and has become fairly wealthy in the process, her life is incomplete because she has no one to share it with.  The guy she thought she would spend forever with left her for another woman, and although that was 20 years ago, Katherine still has not moved on.  It doesn’t help that the guy also is her boss and the CEO of the company she works at.  All You Could Ask For is the story of these three women, separately, and when they find and lean on each other for love and support while they each battle cancer. The most striking aspect of All You Could Ask For is the fact that it is written by a guy. This novel is about the bonds and relationships between women, and yet, it was penned by a male author.  I was shocked that he pretty much mastered the female perspective.  At some points it is apparent that a guy wrote the book but those were few and far between, and overall I’m surprised and impressed that All You Could Ask For was not written by a female. I think it is difficult for a guy to write a solid and realistic female protagonist, but to write and fully develop three at the same time is ambitious, yet Greenberg succeeded. Samantha, Brooke, and Katherine are all different, with different career trajectories and paths, and it was joy to get to know them each individually and when they all finally meet.

It is difficult to do a thorough review of All You Could Ask For without spoilers, and I definitely don’t want to give it up on this book.   The first half of the book lays down the foundation for all three women while the second half shows how they are intertwined. Although they are three distinct characters, they realize that they are more alike than different, and they each have strengths that will help each other through this difficult time.

The first half of the book was definitely more lighthearted and fun while the second half was more poignant and moving.  Together though, All You Could Ask For is a moving novel about the strength and resiliency of friendships and the bonds formed despite adversity.

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