Why won’t you let me love you?
The Friend Zone, Abby Jimenez
I picked up this contemporary romance book because of the premise: Dog-loving Kris struggles with issues from uterine fibroids and finally decides to have a hysterectomy when she meets fireman hero Josh, who happens to want enough kids to form a baseball team.
Boom. You had my attention.
But the follow through?
It brought me to my knees, and a book hasn’t done that in a very long time. I’m still exclaiming out loud about it three days after I finished it.
Why Does Everyone Ask if You Have Kids?
My husband and I were forced to face the question of whether or not we would be able to have children before the tan had even faded from our honeymoon. My husband collects genetic disorders, and we went to a counselor who gave us some great advice based on just the facts, which was so solid, so enlightening after being so crazy emotional about the subject. It came down to this –
Everyday I see how sick my husband can get between his various disorders. He does a great job of hiding it from the world, but I see it. I see how it affects small decisions like footwear choices, what he’s eating for lunch, whether or not he crams a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups down his throat at two in the morning. (Have you ever been force fed peanut butter cups at two in the morning? It’s awful.) I thought about how many times I google hospitals while on vacation. Just in case.
I watched my husband, and this was the thought I had – can I bring a child into this world knowing this is how his/her life could be everyday? Even if the child got just one of the disorders, could I live with my selfishness?
Was that a hard decision to make?
I’ll be honest. It really wasn’t.
My husband had surgery to fix a frozen shoulder, a surgery so common it’s done multiple times a day across the globe. My husband reacted to the painkiller they gave him, and I had to administer emergency insulin at midnight so he wouldn’t go into a coma.
No, the decision wasn’t hard.
So when I read the blurb for The Friend Zone, and the secret part of me I don’t talk about zinged, I felt as if this was a book written specifically for me and all the other women who struggle with having children.
Kris is a Determined Heroine
As soon as I discovered the situation set up in this book, I knew I had to read it. I had to read about Kris, about her feelings, her struggles, her very determined decision to have a hysterectomy. I got that.
I felt her instant challenge to Josh, the hunky fireman who wanted the hoard of children. Kris immediately erects all the barriers to stop herself from falling for Josh, because she will not make that selfish decision. As the reader, you’re put in this place of saying, yeah, I get it. She’s being so completely self-less.
But that’s where Jimenez gets you!
That’s not what this story is about at all.
What It’s Really About
This contemporary romance book was the greatest sleight of hand I have ever witnessed. I was swept up in the love story of Josh and Kris because it is adorable and cute and funny and scrumptious, and you get all the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan feels but with firemen and dogs named Stuntman Mike.
But when you reach the 75% mark of the book, Jimenez straight up bitch slaps you for falling for that crap!
That’s not what this story is about at all.
This story is about confidence and triumph. It’s about loving ourselves. This story is about overcoming the things we think can defeat us.
Because we are all stronger than we think we are.
This Contemporary Romance Book Will Make You Cry
This book is tragic. That’s what surprised me most about it. Jimenez did not hold back. She delivered exactly what was needed to make you feel these characters. To not only get what they’re going through and the decisions they make but to nod along with them and say yep, that’s what ya gotta do.
I was genuinely surprised in the movie The Break Up when they actually break up. I need to tell you this so you understand how amazed I am when a romance doesn’t follow the romance tropes but instead gets real and hands over a much more satisfying ending.
That’s what Kris and Josh did in so many ways.
I will definitely be reading Ms. Jimenez’s next book.
Abby Jimenez – let’s talk about this brilliant lady. She’s a Food Network champion of CUPCAKES! This is her. Cupcakes and romance that makes me cry? We might be soul mates. Jimenez lives in Minnesota, which is my newest favorite place. (I’m not kidding. You need to check out Minneapolis if you have not. I love that city.)
Have you read The Friend Zone?
Let us know what you thought of it in the comments, but please – no spoilers!