What My Best Friend Did
by Lucy Dawson
From Lucy Dawson, author of “His Other Lover,” comes a smart and chilling look at the shadowy side of friendship.
For Alice, life’s a bit too boringly grown-up lately–weekends at weddings and baby showers; celebrating friends’ transitions to a life she isn’t quite up for yet; and a sweet, stable boyfriend she suspects she’s outgrown. So when she meets Gretchen for the first time, it feels a bit like falling in love. Gretchen, with her air of impulsiveness and intuitive style, is that rarest of treasures: a true friend who knows how to have fun. Plus there’s Gretchen’s gorgeous brother, Bailey, who might turn out to be exactly what Alice needs. Before she knows what’s hit her, Alice’s brilliant new best friend is turning her world upside down–seemingly for the better.
But Gretchen has a dark secret, which, like a time bomb, won’t stay hidden forever. The explosion may teach them both more than they ever wanted to know about how female friendships can go frighteningly wrong.
My Thoughts: What My Best Friend Did was a total impulse buy. I’m still a member of Doubleday even though I long ago fulfilled my membership requirements because they still have the occasional awesome sale on hard back books. This book was bought in one of those buying sprees where I find my cart filling up magically. On it’s own. Honestly.
So of course, like most impulse books purchases, this book was lingering on my TBR bookcase (no longer content with just a single shelf or two, it has taken over an entire large book case). Thankfully I’m taking my 2012 tbr challenges seriously, reading books off my shelves or my kindle back log. I picked this one because I just love the cover and the title is definitely intriguing.
Sadly it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Alice as a main character is pretty unlikeable. She’s mean to her nice, albeit boring, boyfriend, and she flings herself into a friendship with Gretchen and a relationship with Bailey, Gretchen’s brother, with all the maturity of a YA character. But What My Best Friend Did is not a YA novel.
I almost gave up a few times, but once the book gets to the back story of Gretchen’s mental illness and we begin to get hints that the latest episode with her was not as it appears to be, I was sucked in. I might not like Alice too much, but it was hard not to yell in horror at some of the things Gretchen did to her. Plus, even though I’ve just said I don’t like Alice, she was refreshingly flawed. She gets caught in lies, she makes mistakes, and she has a toxic female friendship. Which is probably why I don’t like Alice, she’s just a bit too much like me. 😉
The ending did surprise me a bit, and while I thought it ended when it should have, I kind of wanted to stick around for some of the fall out. This isn’t a book I’m dying to share with my friends and fellow book bloggers, but it’s a fairly quick read in the vein of a very toned down Single White Female.
Another thing that makes me hesitate to recommend this book is the way it deals with mental illness. In some ways its a perfect look at manic depression, but it might offend some people by the way the mentally ill character uses her illness to manipulate others. I think it does bring up an interesting argument, how much can be attributed to mental illness and just plain old bad behavior?
What My Best Friend Did gets a Midnight Book Rating of:
The cover gets a Midnight Book Cover Rating of:
I love the colors, and I’ll probably just keep the book to decorate my yellow shelf (yes, some of my bookcases are organized by color).