Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Published Date: January 05, 2015
African American Fiction | Christian Fiction | Women’s Fiction |
plural novellas or no·vel·le play \-ˈve-lē\
1) plural novelle : a story with a compact and pointed plot
2) plural usually novellas : a work of fiction intermediate in length and complexity between a short story and a novelMerriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Novellas can be a beautiful thing. Novellas are great for there isn’t time to invest in a novel and they have more substance than a short story. Depending on the length a novella can take a couple of hours to read. Quick entertainment via book. But novella’s can be tricky to master. Their length provides enough space to go into greater detail than short stories and more chances for thorough character development. Novellas are short enough for some stories feel crammed into tight page limitations. Unfortunately, Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby is longer novel crammed into novella format.
Best Friends Forever is under two hundred pages longs but deals with heavy topics from infidelity to breast cancer. The novella opens with readers finding out that Celine’s suspects husband, Keith, is cheating on her. Their marriage has been on a downward spiral for months as she tries to focus on her career. Keith is resentful that Celine’s has little time to spend with him and cheats in retaliation. There is a lot of back and forth between the Celine and Keith before Keith moves out. While having to deal with a cheating husband Celine finds out that she has stage two breast cancer. Celine tells Keith hoping the diagnosis will help save their marriage, his basic reaction is “sucks for you”. Celine best friend since childhood, Lauren, and her brother support through the turmoil of a failed marriage and breast cancer treatments. Other than her brother and Lauren, Celine is alone expect for her ten year old daughter Kassie. Kassie is dealing with emotions that comes along with parents getting divorced and a mother battling breast cancer. All of it in two hundred pages.
Despite having limited space to properly unpack the issues in Best Friends Forever, Lawson Roby does a great job of handling Celine’s cancer diagnosis and it’s treatment. The setup to Celine finding a lump while self examining in the shower, her visit to the doctors office and then to a specialist shows was handled with care. I liked how Lawson Roby handles this subject including complications Celine’s faced due to radiation treatments. Lawson Roby could have taken the easy way out and after Celine’s surgery closed that storyline.
The cheating husband storyline got old quickly. Readers never get to see Keith and Celine’s relationship before it goes down the drain. There are references to the good times before the tension. When Keith leaves, there’s a sense of relief because I was tired of reading the back and forth between Celine and Keith. In these exchanges Keith was a combination of selfish spoiled child who cheated on his wife the first time her attention was not on him even though she supported his career ambitions for years and cold-hearted jerk. Celine was just plain whiny. Celine was more concerned for Kassie and how Kassie handles the separation rather than her actual marriage. It was like “if it wasn’t for this little girl I would have thrown all your shit on the lawn yesterday” situation.
Where does the best friend forever come in?
Good question, almost nowhere.
There are glimpses of Lauren throughout Best Friend Forever. Lauren is with Celine when Celine has her operation and drives her to her radiation treatment. Lauren is a good friend, making arrangements at work so she can be by Celine’s side. The interaction between Celine and Laurena is limited and doesn’t why the novella is titled Best Friends Forever. This isn’t novel about friendship rather than a novel depicting how one woman overcomes life’s hurdles. This is Celine’s story, not Celine and Lauren’s story. I was hoping for Best Friends Forever to be about the relationship between the two women and I was left highly disappointed.
Again not enough real estate.
Since this is the first time I am reading Kimberla Lawson Roby work, I can’t compare Best Friends Forever with her novels or novellas. This novella would’ve been better in first person narrative. The author spends a lot of time explaining what Celine is feeling or thinking, so much time in fact it is repetitive. It was a lot of “Celine thought”, “Celine felt”. It would’ve been better to read Celine thoughts and feelings in her own words. I became annoyed by the narrative instead of sympathetic to Celine’s plight.
Overall, I wish Best Friends Forever was longer and had interaction between Celine and Lauren to justify the title.[ Amazon ] [ Barnes & Noble ] [ Goodreads ] [ MahoganyBooks ]