Book Review: Gotta Keep on Tryin’: A Novel
Publication Date: Jan 08, 2008
List Price: $24.00
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: KKR & Co. Inc.
Book Reviewed by Idrissa Uqdah
In the sequel to the novel,
Tryin’ To Sleep In The Bed You Made,
life-long friends Gayle Saunders and Patricia (Pat) Reid are together
again in this new release, Gotta Keep On Tryin’. Gayle and Pat are
running a business they founded based on Ell, a storybook character,
that Gayle developed years ago for her young daughter. The Ell and Me
Company is a success due to Gayle’s creativity and Pat’s business
experience and talents. Gayle’s children’s books in this series about
Ell have become very popular. Marketing director Pat convinces Gayle
that they should create an Ell doll to promote the books. The story
opens as the company is poised to release the new product.
The best friends must deal with a new set of issues in this story. Although Gayle’s marriage to Ramsey has been dissolved, Pat is still married to Marcus Carter, a championship baseball player turned sports agent. Along with his partner, Marcus runs Gallagher & Carter Pro Sports.
The marriage is threatened when Pat, feeling neglected by Marcus, finds herself emotionally attracted to one of her business associates. Meanwhile, Marcus is hit with a paternity claim by the daughter of a former girlfriend who has died from cancer putting more strain on the marriage. Pat does not handle this very well.
Parenting becomes a major obstacle for Gayle now that daughter Vanessa is a ’terrible teenager’ who blames her mother for her father’s absence, along with a host of other issues the aspiring dancer is experiencing. Despite her best efforts to be a good mother, Vanessa emerges a spoiled brat, vindictive and manipulative. This situation causes Gayle much anxiety resulting in an eating disorder that she manages to keeps a secret. The bond between Pat and Gayle is constantly tested while their business relationship begins to deteriorate due to the stress.
Gayle’s ex-husband, Ramsey returns after resolving some of the issues in his life that impacted on Gayle and Vanessa’s struggle to survive when he left them. The story keeps the reader waiting for the other shoe to drop as one situation after another erupts for Gayle and Pat, both personally and professionally. The suspense builds.
I enjoyed the emotional tension as the story unfolded. The characters are well developed and the reader is able to see their growth as the story progresses.
Gotta Keep On Tryin’ is mainstream women’s fiction at its best and I am sure many men would enjoy it also. There is no male bashing in this storyline. I felt the authors conveyed a theory that the bonds of friendship and commitment will get you through the hard times, making you stronger in the end. Long-time DeBerry and Grant fans will delight in this novel.