Newest Review: ... tell you that after reading this I then went back and read Koomson's previous books I think thats a pretty strong positive review! The... more
A true test of friendship!
My Best Friend's Girl - Dorothy Koomson
Member Name: carl_lazarevic
My Best Friend's Girl - Dorothy Koomson
Advantages: strong charaters on an emotional roller-coaster.
Disadvantages: It's hard not to feel like a girl when reading it.
My Best Friends Girl is a highly emotional book that I originally picked up for Vicky to read on a plane trip we were taking. It's not a traditional guys book by any stretch of the imagination, but as fate would have it I forgot to pack my book and had to make do. I'm glad I did as this is one of the most emotional books that I have ever read.
My Best Friends Girl tells the heart renching story of Kamryn Matika; a 32 year old National Marketing Manager for a department store. Kamryn's life in Leeds is exactly where she wants it to be, and a big promotion is on the horizon. However Kamryn's tragic past is about to catch up with her. Two years ago she recieved the heart renching news that her best friend Adel had slept with her fiance! Kamryn and Adel had been an inseperable pair ever since college, and their love was closer than that of sisters. Yet this event had shattered their friendship and forced Kamryn to walk away from her life in London. She has completely refused all contact from either party since.
On her 32nd birthday Kamryn recieves a card from Adel with a simple; but very clear, message. "Please don't ignore this. I need to see you. I'm dying!" Despite reservations Kamryn decides to pluck up the courage to speak with Adel, and eventually finds her lying in a hospital bed. Adel has an aggressive and inoporable form of cancer and her prospects are grim, but that is not the sole reason she was so desperate to see Kamryn. You see Adel has a young daughter named Tiegan who she loves more than anyone in the world. In her early years Tiegan was very close to Kamryn, and as a result Adel will trust nobody else to raise her. Before she can give an answer Kamryn must decide whether she is willing to accept this bourden into her current carefree life.
To make matters worse Adel has one further revelation for her. Tiegan's oblivious father is none other than Kamryn's former fiance Nate. Adel had covered up that bit of information from everybody the day she found out she was pregnant, and didn't even tell Nate when Kamryn walked. So if Kamryn is willing to forgive Adel and accept this great resposibility, then she will have even more tribulations to overcome. She needs to ask permission to adopt the daughter that the man who betrayed her doesn't know he has yet. She will then need to balance out her life and career with a young girl, and try to make sure that none of her resentments are taken out on the child. Besides which; even if she gets all of that perfected, then the social services will still remain hessitant to let a black lady completely adopt a white child.
It should be pretty obvious that she does take on this responsibility, but the rest of the book is honestly far from predictable. Dorothy Koomson has penned a superb story here, and created a very relatable character in Kamryn Matika. As she struggles with the responsibility of being a parent she makes many mistakes. However you never once feel like judging her because she is written in such a relatable way. You do constantly feel like you would probably be doing the same things if you were trapped in the same situation. In fact whenever Kamryn narrates her thoughts I found myself nodding along in agreement. It is the sign of a good author that even a white male can relate to the insecurities and fears of a black female, because it shows that Kamryn is not a stereotype. She's a well rounded chacter that consistently responds to difficult situations in very human ways.
At times the story can be undeniably tragic and has the desired emotional effect whenever it needs too. None of these times feel like Koomson is manipulating your emotions and so you will find youself wanting to cry along with Kamryn. Maybe a girl would be crying along, but I am a big butch man who admits nothing...Ahem.... Getting back on track, the simple fact is true that certain portions of the book are incredibally moving.
Yet I was very grateful for the fact that the book was not entierely bleak and depressing. At other times the characters can have a good time, and the writing lightens up to accomodate this. Some of the side characters carry a real spark and charisma during these sections and Koomsan utilises them well. Tiegen herself reads like an adorable child and its easy to understand why so many characters can fall instantly in love with her.
These sparks of life work well with the more depressing moments to complete the book. It's a real rollercoaster of mixed emotions from start to finish and I personally couldn't put it down. From a bloke that should be considered high praise indeed!
Summary: An emotional roller-coaster from beginning to end.