Ever since Philip and I started enforcing a strict early bedtime to accommodate our 5:15 a.m. alarm, we’ve been getting in a lot of reading before bed. I thought I’d start writing and sharing my book reviews on the blog. My goal is to keep the reviews short, direct, and full of enough detail to help you decide whether or not it’ll be a book-mance for you. I’m calling this series Busy Mom Book Reviews. Yes. BMBR. I’m great at coming up with abbreviations or acronyms or whatever you call them. If it starts with “BM,” you now it’s gonna be good!
Alright…on to my first Busy Mom Book Review (BMBR)…
Star Rating (out of a possible 5): ***
I first learned about Nobody’s Cuter Than You from The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey when she had author Melanie Shankle on the podcast. After I heard Melanie and Jamie giggling on The Happy Hour, I wanted to hear more of Melanie’s voice in her book. I went into the book anticipating a light beach read that would make me walk away feeling grateful for my girlfriends. Mission accomplished, Melanie Shankle. Mission accomplished.
The book has 19 short chapters. Melanie goes all the way back to her first best friend and shares stories from all of her most important friendships up until present day. My favorite part was Melanie’s chapter about her annual tradition to get all of her Christmas shopping done over a weekend with her friend, Gulley. I appreciated how Melanie’s introspection interspersed among anecdotes forced me to think about how my friendships shaped and continue to shape me. I struggled with the pace and flow of her narrative, though. While I appreciated Melanie’s lightness and sense of humor, I wanted her to lean into the pain a little more when it happened. As a reader, it made me feel like she didn’t feel comfortable sharing her whole story. I felt like I was being kept at an arm’s length with humor and couldn’t get the full story. At times her humor felt out of place or she’d go on and on about seemingly unnecessary details that didn’t help advance the narrative of friendship. While Melanie’s devotion and affection for her dearest friends shines through, I struggled with how she handled the toughest moments. As a reader, I kept wanting to get back to the details of what was happening in her relationship instead of her interest in the superficial (hairstyles, fashion, etc.). Melanie has a knack for remembering all of those colorful details that take you back to times and places, but I think she took it to a level that distracted from the story. Perhaps it would have made more sense to plug in a few little vignettes. A small “ode to the 80’s” or a “love song to my Honda CR-X” would have been great! Just my $.02. I wish Melanie’s editor had forced her to trim out the fat and keep us along for the ride of the most important details. The chapters felt isolated and read like individual blog posts instead of a narrative weaved together to help us learn more about why Melanie is the woman she is today.
In brief: Nobody’s Cuter Than You was a fun, light, vacation read that made me reflect more on the power of friendship, but I don’t think I’d recommend it unless I was giving someone my copy.