I got this from Netgalley a couple of days ago and started reading it yesterday morning and was able to finish it by midnight. This book just sucked me in from the very beginning. I totally devoured it. I seriously could not put it down, and I just had to finish it right away!
He Gets That From Me has two storylines that weave in and out of the narrative: One is with Maggie Fischer, a young mother who helped out a gay couple as a surrogate in order to afford to go to college, and the other one are the Rigdales, the gay couple who are trying to build a family of their own. But nothing in life is black and white as ten years after the twins were born, the Rigdales and Maggie found out a shocking revelation about one of the twins.
This book just holds the readers’ attention from start to finish because of its well-conceived and deftly drawn characters. It was told through a dual POV — Maggie Fischer and Donovan Rigsdale, and I loved that their voices are so authentic, so vivid that it feels like I personally know them. Even though I couldn’t fully relate with Maggie, I could feel her pain and her anger towards her life and her situation. With Donovan, maybe I am biased because I am a gay man myself, but I feel like I could resonate with him more and that I understood more where he’s coming from. It’s really the emotional complexity and intensity of their situation that really pulled me in.
The writing puts me inside these characters so that I know them and feel them because Friedland wonderfully captures a little of the essence of that humanity in these situations they found themselves in. It navigates two families’ responses to such unintentional incidents along with the resolution that each party could think of in order to resolve it. It wasn’t very pretty that I could tell you, but there is much to be gleaned from it. It’s absolutely engaging with a brilliant structure too!
After finishing it, I sat back and reflected on what its central message was: what family truly means, how far you will go for your child, and that love (this is cheesy) will always lead that way no matter what.
I’d definitely recommend this book. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. There is so much to this book that a short review does not do any justice. I just have to say that this is by far the best book I’ve read so far this year – an absolute must-read!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
An advance review copy was provided by the publisher, SparkPress via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.
Paperback, 256 pages
Date of Publication: September 14th 2021 by SparkPress
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About the Author
Jacqueline Friedland is the author of award-winning novels Trouble the Water and That’s Not a Thing. A graduate of The University of Pennsylvania and NYU Law School, she practiced as an attorney before returning to school to receive her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York with her husband and four children. For contact info, tour dates, and book clubs please visit http://www.jacquelinefriedland.com and Instagram @jackiefriedland