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What Doesn't Kill You

What Doesn't Kill You, January 2009
by Virginia DeBerry, Donna Grant (2)

Touchstone
304 pages
ISBN: 1416564209
EAN: 9781416564201
Hardcover
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"An enthralling tale of a forty-something divorcee whose mettle is tested in ways she never imagined"

Fresh Fiction Review

What Doesn't Kill You
Virginia DeBerry, Donna Grant (2)

Reviewed by Patricia Woodside
Posted March 12, 2009

Multicultural African-American | Women's Fiction Contemporary

Forty-something divorcee Thomasina "Tee" Hodges is celebrating. Her only daughter is getting married and Tee does it up in high style, spending more than she should but, with no regrets. After all, she's secure in her longtime position with Markson & Daughter, a cosmetics company she darn near helped to start. The morning after the wedding, however, when she wakes up with the best man and no memory of exactly how that happened, her world is tilted on its axis. Little does Tee know that this is just the beginning of unexpected events in her life. She encounters changes she never imagined, changes that will test her mettle and teach her who she really is and what she really wants out of life.

Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant have done it again. Every time I thought Tee had hit her lowest point—and Tee probably did too—the authors ramped up the stakes, finding yet another way to tilt Tee's world a few more degrees. At times, it felt as though the authors had peeked into my life, borrowing some of my best material, the stuff I was saving for my own novels. But really, what makes Ms. DeBerry's and Ms. Grant's writing so special is that they have a unique ability to draw upon universal life circumstances and paint a broad landscape of the emotions and challenges that come with them in a way to which anyone can relate. Tee, even in the midst of her worst nightmares, was sassy, funny, smart—if reluctant to always do what she knew she should—and genuine. My only complaint is that the chapters were so long yet so enthralling that it was very difficult to read this one in small snatches. So, rather than frustrate yourself, save WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU for a weekend, a long plane ride, or a vacation, when you can kick up your heels and bury yourself in another literary gem.

Learn more about What Doesn't Kill You

SUMMARY

"I really thought I had a handle on life -- then it broke off."

Opinionated, straight-talking, and witty, Tee is a fly forty-something. Divorced since her daughter, Amber, was young, Tee has been "handling her business," supporting herself after her would-be songwriter husband took off for L.A., and she's done all right. Organized, responsible, hardworking, and loyal, Tee went from being the first employee of a start-up purveyor of organic lotions to the right hand of the president of what became a major player in the home and personal fragrance market.

But then everything changes. First, she's outplaced from her longtime job and doesn't tell anyone. Then she gives her daughter the wedding of her dreams and, after overindulging in champagne, Tee wakes up in bed with the younger best man.

For the first time in twenty-five years, Tee doesn't know who she is or what she's going to do every day. Deep in denial, she continues to live her life as if nothing has changed. After a series of financial mistakes, miscalculations, and missteps compound her already shaky situation, she's soon teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. That's when Tee decides that it's time for her to wake up and face reality.

Beyond "making money," Tee never really decided what she wanted to do with her life. Then she just stopped thinking about it and invested her hopes in someone else's dream. Now it's her chance to invest in herself. Can she step out on faith to follow her own dream?


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