Thursday, July 29, 2021

Did I Say You Could Go

Did I Say You Could Go by Melanie Gideon
8/3/21; 368 pages
Simon & Schuster

Did I Say You Could Go by Melanie Gideon is a highly recommended psychological drama.

Ruth Thorne, and her daughter Marley, and Gemma Howard, and her daughter Bee, first met when Ruth held the meet and greet for the Hillside Academy kindergarten class. Both Ruth and Gemma are single mothers and Ruth is determined to make Gemma and Bee their friends. While the rest of the mothers are turned off by Ruth and her conspicuous wealth, Gemma seems open to accept her. The two families quickly become friends, with Ruth generously paying for all sorts of luxuries that Gemma could never afford. When Ruth is involved in a scandal, Gemma takes it as an opportunity to begin to slowly pull away from her overbearing friendship. Then, seven years later Gemma's company is named in a scandal and Ruth uses this to insert herself into Gemma's life again.

Right from the start it is clear that this is a novel of frenemies and as such there will be lies, deceptions, obsession, and treachery hidden behind the facade of helpful support and caring. It is delicious combination that will hold your attention while you predict what is going to happen next. Gideon gives her characters believable attributes and provides the complete backstory about their lives and friendships. Even more heartbreaking is reading about Bee and Marley as they try to negotiate their teenage years. Truly, they are all quite flawed characters in vastly different ways. Gemma is the most sane and reasonable, but she is also too trusting of Ruth's intentions.

The chapters follow past and present in the lives of the characters. There are also excerpts of discussions and gossip between users on an anonymous mom app used by school parents. I kept questioning if this was really a thing and if it is, why would any sensible person participate in it? Setting that aside, Did I Say You Could Go is an immanently readable novel that is a compelling and entertaining summer read. The ending is very satisfying.  May all your friends be true friends.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

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