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ALL YOU COULD ASK FOR by Mike Greenberg


by Mike Greenberg

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-222075-2
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Sports pundit Greenberg tries his hand at chick lit, with somber overtones and mixed results.

Part One of this first novel is pretty formulaic: Three former debutantes face the usual prickly situations the wealthy and naïve are prone to, involving men, of course. Well, not men per se but their own vulnerabilities with respect to the opposite sex. Katherine, turning 40, doses herself with exercise and affirmations as she faces another day as a Wall Street banker in the employ of a man who jilted her almost 20 years before. Brooke, a Connecticut yummy mummy married to a Wall Street banker, is also turning 40: Her biggest challenge right now is compiling a portfolio of naked photos of herself to present to her husband. Samantha, 28, has her own naked photo dilemma: The politician she has just married has a few (not of her) in his email inbox. She has fled her honeymoon in Kauai for a luxury hotel, where her plutocrat father will bail her out of her difficulties and get her marriage annulled while she trains for a triathlon. Part Two will bring these women together. The unifying element, intended to lend gravitas to the frivolity, involves cancer. Although the cancer section provides opportunities for the women to discover what is truly important in life, it also affords Greenberg too many pretexts for preachy clichés and oversimplification.  

Any automatic sympathy conferred by illness will be mitigated, for most readers, by how little we've come to care for these superficial and uber-privileged characters.