New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins is beloved for her heartfelt novels filled with humor and wisdom. Now, she tackles an issue every woman deals with: body image and self-acceptance.
Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.
For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it's coming to terms with the survivor's guilt she's carried around since her twin sister's death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life. For Georgia, it's about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother's and brother's ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.
But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson's dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves.
A novel of compassion and insight, Good Luck With That tells the story of two women who learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.
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“Tatiana!” said Tatiana, and I smiled at her.
We were doing letter and sound recognition, a component of the language and literacy part of nursery school.
Right now, we were trying to get every kid to name a word that started with T without any other chatter, which would reinforce their focusing skills as well as literacy. So far, our record was five words in a row, which was pretty good, given that everyone here was only four and had the attention span of a gnat.
“Theater,” said Silvi.
Lissie, my assistant teacher, shot me a glance. Silvi was advanced, already reading. I felt a flash of pride for Clara, followed by the increasingly familiar buzz of nerves whenever anything related to Rafael entered my consciousness. For nearly five years, I’d done a damn good job of keeping him out of my head.
“Turd,” said Geronimo, and the kids dissolved into giggles.
“He said ‘turd’! He said ‘turd’! Turd!” they shrieked. Axel got up and ran in a circle, a victory lap of sorts. Khaleesi started to cry, since she hated all things bowel-related, and Lissie comforted her.
“We got up to six ‘T’ words! That’s a new record, so good work,” I said. “And, Geronimo, you’re very funny, but let’s keep bathroom talk for bathrooms and when you have to go, okay, sweetheart?” I glanced at the clock. “Great job, everyone. And look at the clock! It’s time to clean up.”
“Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up,” the kids sang. We had a song for everything.
I directed the kids—Khaleesi and Cash could put the stuffed animals away, Silvi and Wren could bring the paintbrushes to the sink, Dash and Roland would put pink reminder slips in everyone’s cubby about bringing in special cuddle friends on Friday. Nash and Primrose reshelved books. I helped kids find their lunch boxes, gave out hugs, checked to see if paintings were dry enough to be taken home.
Then, at 2:00 on the dot, Lissie opened the door to let the parents in to get their kids. Donna, the teacher in room 2, let her kids out early every day . . . she was one year away from retirement and really over teaching. The hallway was mobbed with kids and parents, and for a second, I didn’t see him.
Then Silvi shouted, “Uncle Rafe!” and he knelt down, opening his arms as she ran to him.
My body reacted before my brain—knees softened, my left leg wobbling, the instant heat in my stomach rising through my chest and neck into my face, my hands buzzing with adrenaline.
He was here.
Clara had put him on the authorized-pickup list. I’d known this day was coming, but now that it was upon me, I couldn’t seem to . . . to . . . what was the question again?
Rafe picked up his niece, kissed her on the cheek. “Hello, sweet girl,” he said, smiling.
Then he looked at me, and his eyes . . . I couldn’t believe I’d gone so long without seeing those eyes, so dark and beautiful, either the happiest or saddest eyes in the entire world, depending on his mood.
They were happy right now. Because of Silvi, of course.
He was clean-shaven now, and it made him look younger. My heart felt weak and thin.
“Georgia,” he said, and my stomach squeezed. His accent always made my name sound lush and delicious.
“Hello, Rafe,” I managed. “It’s good to see you.”
He was more beautiful than ever. Every one of his features was just a little big—nose, mouth, eyes. Generous. His hair was shorter. No more ponytail, and he looked . . . perfect. But for some reason, his short hair and lack of a beard made me want to cry a little, because . . . well, because I hadn’t known.
“Miss Georgia, Miss Georgia, I can’t find my sock!” said Geronimo, who liked to strip down naked in the bathroom. And thank God, because it gave me an excuse to stop staring at my ex. I took Geronimo by the hand and led him to the bathroom, my heart banging. Never in my life was I so glad to close a door.
I took in a breath, then picked up the errant sock, which was lying under the sink. “Here you go, honey. Remember what we said about keeping your clothes on in here? Just pull down your pants next time, okay?”
“Okay. I love you,” he said, throwing his arms around my neck.
Maybe if I’d been a preschool teacher when Rafe and I were married, we would’ve made it.
Don’t start, my brain said. You blew it. He asked for a divorce and you couldn’t say yes fast enough.
I put on Geronimo’s sock, tied his shoes and had him wash his hands. “That’s my boy,” I said, ruffling his hair.
“We’re best friends,” he told me.
“It’s nice to have so many best friends, isn’t it?” I asked. Couldn’t have him thinking he was my favorite, even if he was in my top five.
When I came out, Geronimo’s dad was waiting. “How was my boy today?”
“He was excellent, as usual,” I said. “And very creative.”
“I said ‘turd,’ Daddy! It starts with ‘T’!”
The dad laughed. “I guess it does. Thanks, Georgia. See you tomorrow.”
“Bye, gentlemen. Have a great afternoon.”
Silvi was giving her uncle the tour. “This is where we paint. This is where we read books. I have this book at home. I have this one, too. Read me this one, Uncle Rafe.”
“Silvi, let me talk to Miss Georgia a moment, sweetheart. We are old friends, did you know that?”
My heart rate tripled.
“You are?” Silvi asked. “That’s a pleasant surprise!”
I couldn’t help a smile. Silvi’s vocabulary was rock ’n’ roll.
“We are.” His hand rested on her head. “Can you look at a book by yourself for a moment, sweet one?”
“Silvi loves books, don’t you, honey?” Which he probably knew, being her uncle and all that.
“Yes, I do,” she said. “I can read some by myself.”
My hands were shaking, so I stuck them in the pockets of my denim jumper (which was just as sexy as it sounded).
Rafe came over and stood in front of me, and my heart wasn’t just pounding now, but thrumming. The poker in my stomach twisted again and again.
“Small world,” I said, my voice quiet.
“Yes. How have you been, Georgia?”
“Great. Fine. I’m preschool teacher now.”
“So I heard.” A dark eyebrow lifted.
“I heard you have a new restaurant. Um . . . Cherish told me. My stepmother? Remember her?”
“Of course I remember her.”
“Sure. Why wouldn’t you? I mean, how many people are named Cherish, right? Let alone exotic dancer stepmoms, right? Anyway, she said that . . . that she went to your restaurant. And it was good.”
Rafe didn’t answer for a minute. Why would he? I was babbling like an idiot. I tried to look at him and failed.
“Silvi says she loves school,” he said finally. “Thank you for that. The move, it was a little difficult for her.”
“She’s doing great here.” I drew in a shaky breath. “How are you, Rafael?” Forced myself to look at him.
His expression was neutral. I had no idea what mine was. “I’m doing very well, thank you,” he said. “I hope it will not be too awkward, us seeing each other from time to time.”
Awkward? Not at all. Agonizing, that was a better word.
“No. It’s fine. Don’t worry about me! I’m . . . I’m great. With this, I mean. It’s lovely to see you again. Lovely to have Silvi. That’s what I meant.”
He just kept looking at me.
“Are you seeing anyone?” I asked, then jerked back a little because I hadn’t meant to ask.
“Yes,” he said. “I am.”
Of course he was. “And is she . . . is she nice?” Is she beautiful? Is she kind? Is she thin? Do you love her?
My ex-husband didn’t answer immediately. The silence swelled. Then he said, “I would rather not discuss her. But yes. She is nice.”
I nodded, my face burning. “Well. Congratulations on the new restaurant.”
This time, the voice was deeper. We both turned, and there was Mason.
“No,” Rafe said, his eyes widening in surprise. “It cannot be. Mason? Oh, madre de Dios, Mason! Where is the boy? You are a young man now! Come! Give me a hug!”
There it was, that magical ease and warmth he had with people. Mason obeyed happily, and I swallowed against the wedge in my throat.
Mason had been our ring bearer.
The two of them were chatting away like long-lost friends, which I guessed they were.
That was the shitty thing about divorce. You lost that whole other family, that whole world. Rafe had been so good for Mason, his gentle brand of masculinity a much better role model than Hunter’s seething, omnipresent hostility.
Maybe if Rafe had been in the picture, Mason wouldn’t have done what he did this past April.
“Mason, please, come meet my niece, Silvi. She is a student here.”
“Cool. Hey, little kid. I’m Mason.”
“I’m not little. I’m almost a big sister,” Silvi said.
“Oh, gotcha. Sorry.” Mason grinned at us.
“I forgive you,” she said sweetly.
“Silvi, we should go,” Rafe said. “I have to work tonight, and I want to take you to the park and perhaps for some ice cream, what do you say?”
“I say yes!” Silvi got up, hugged my legs, then grabbed her uncle’s hand. “Bye, Miss Georgia,” she sang out.
“It was good to see you,” Rafe said. Probably a lie.
Then they were gone.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had to put this book down several times while reading it because it was incredibly relatable. The raw emotion of these achingly real characters was overwhelming at times. Mostly when their inner dialogue was familiar and you wanted them to know they weren’t alone. I laughed and cheered, I cringed and fumed, and I cried. Oh lord did I cry. I absolutely fell in love with Emerson, Marley, and Georgia. Yes they had flaws but they were each glorious in their own way. This is one I will read again when I’m looking for that warm blanket of friendship and familiarity.
3 young women meet at "fat camp" as teens and former a life long friendship. They make a bucket list for when they become think. Kristan Higgins tackles the serious issue of body image...and she does so with her trademark humor and empathy. I found myself alternately crying and cheering. One of the best books I've read this summer!
From the more than snarky title – since everyone understands the “that” adds a level of ‘you can’t do it” to the sentence, Higgins puts us into the lives of these three friends: Georgia, Marley, and Emerson. Told in 3 perspectives, the girls met and bonded at camp, after years of weight issues and the not so subtle put-downs of friends, family and society. But the loss of Emerson from this trio, brings up huge piles of guilt in their disconnect over the years since camp, as well as a set of challenges made from a ‘what to do when we’re thin” list composed in their teens. There is Georgia – brainy, beautiful and beaten down by her plastic surgery addicted mother, and brother with huge personality defects, to Emerson, shy and withdrawn, who finds a boyfriend after years of alone, only to see him control her with food and isolation, to Marley, one half of a set of twins, her sister failed to thrive and died at four, leaving Marley alone and ‘making up’ for the loss. These women have issues, sure, and the never-ending interior monologues about their weight, and how being thinner will change everything, allowing them to find boyfriends, success at work, more friends, etc… that is the battle they face every day: apologizing for being who they are, and wanting the same things as everyone else in the world. Surprisingly upbeat, despite the serious and often heartbreaking issues, these are characters that you want to have as friends, cheering on their successes, every little step should see them more confident, more in charge. Yet, with issues so deeply rooted, the task to not listen to the voices of discouragement, the judgy looks and shaming from other women, and the constant barrage of “ideal” thrown at us every day in media, they are all simply trying to survive and thrive, moving forward despite the fears, shame and failures. Marley and Georgia are wonderful characters, and they have issues that in a broader sense, speak to us all. Acceptance, being ‘good” enough, ignoring and stuffing down the ‘difficult topics’ with family to ‘get along’, even second guessing (and going through everything in your closet) before a date or gathering. We ALL do that. Those voices that question, nag, discourage or even demean us, FROM us, are often reflections of what we’ve heard (or felt) at different points. The trick, I think, is to use those to fuel forward motion and to discuss and unearth those difficult topics, before it takes the loss of a friend to set you on the path. Oh there are plenty of people who will bemoan this book and find it’s not ‘positive’ imagery to all sizes, making much of the near-constant rewind of the voices in Marley’s and Georgia’s heads. Or take offense to Emerson’s diary entries and her “OE” persona, as she reveals her own struggles. It’s not a jab – it’s actually quite clever: almost brutally honest in the scenes and secrets revealed, all of the ‘deepest darks” that we hear only in our own heads when feeling particularly down or discouraged: perhaps even on constant refrain, as these three had. It’s connections and similarities that bind us all, and with Marley, Georgia and Emerson, Higgins has given us three new friends who perhaps are more like us than different, at least in terms of hopes, dreams and wishes. I received an eArc copy of this title from the pubisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This book is honest and makes you think. It is highly relatable even if you don't have 'fat' issues like the characters in the book. All of the characters are honest, even the ones who are so cruel to the main characters. How many girls have mothers who point out their size and offer 'help' as to how to fix it. The journey of Georgia and Marley is so well told. Their revelations through the list move them forward in their lives, even as Emerson tells her heartbreaking story of why she couldn't make it through. This is just such a thought-provoking book that you simply must read it. All the reactions are honest - there's that word again - even from the characters that come across as unlikeable. I laughed, I cried and I loved the indefatigable nature of the main characters. They persist. That's what matters. Thank you, Ms. Higgins! This book is a true gem.
I have read all of Kristan Higgins' books, and I feel this is the best one yet. Ms. Higgins really knows how to make you care about her characters and their lives. Great big thumbs up!
As someone who has had weight issues my entire life, I immediately felt a kinship with all three characters. Very well written, I have had similar thoughts and experiences that were captured perfectly by the author. I cheered for Georgia and Marley, cried for Emerson, and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well done!
One of her best books. Worth reading a second or 3rd time!
This book spoke to my soul. It touched me deeply and it made me face my own demons and fears. A must read for all of us, who struggle with self-love and acceptance.
This is not a usual Kristan Higgins Romance. Three "fat" girls become BFF at a "fat" camp, Camp Copperbrook . Once they aged out at 18, they kept in touch, Georgia and Marley more so, since they both lived in New York, while Emerson lived in Deleware. As life continued, all three continued to have weight problems and body image issues. Things come to a head when Georgia and Marley receive a call they Emerson is in the ER and most likely will not leave alive. She had hidden from her friends that she had become morbidly obese. She leaves them as her heirs, with missions what to do with the inheritance, but most important, she handed them a list that they had made at camp, "Things We'll Do When We're Skinny" and had them make a death bed promise to do the things on the list. The author explores the whys of how food became an escape and comfort. How young children are effected by the words and actions of those around them, particularly those why are supposed to love, cherish and protect them. The 3 women aren't the only ones who have issues and recognizing toxic friends and family is something that everyone needs to deal with. The appealing characters are expertly developed and the narrative artfully written.
Well worth reading!
“Do you know just how beautiful you are? Yes, you reading this. You’re beautiful inside and out, because your spirit and energy is where your beauty comes from. You're kind, smart, generous and unique. You’re loved for all those reasons and more. Your beauty radiates from within. That’s what truly matters. You are perfect. Love yourself just the way you are. The world is a happier and better place because of you.” These words came to me the morning after reading Good Luck With That. I woke up wanting to share these sentiments on social media, but I saved it first as part of my review. When a story can move me enough to want to share these thoughts with the world, well, I say it's a book that genuinely made a big impression on me. Powerful feelings and message, don't you think? The day I finished reading the the story, I had the biggest smile while hugging the book and my heart was filled with joy for the happy ending! YES!!! *Fist-pump!* Just like with all of Kristan Higgins’s books. Good Luck With That is an emotional journey filled with friendships, family drama, tears of sorrow and laughter, but most importantly Love. Love and acceptance of ourselves, and of others for who they are. Ms. Higgins brings to the pages the challenges, not only of self image and eating disorders, but also PTSD, coping with the loss of loved ones, health related issues and difficult relationships. I felt a lot of empathy towards many characters and listening to each one’s point of view was heartbreaking at times, and laugh out loud hilarious in others, only like Kristan Higgins can do it. Honest and enlightening. Good Luck With That delivers a message for us to consider or reflect on how words we use to show our “love”, can either have a positive or negative affect on our loved ones, and it's also a story about self- acceptance. One of the best books I’ve read this year. Powerful. Brilliantly written. Everyone should read it.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kristan Higgins. She is my favorite author. I was anxiously awaiting this book because I heard so many great reviews. However, I thought this book fell way flat. It was very repetitive and I found myself skimming over stuff because it was so boring and again so repetitive. It does deal a lot with body issues but I don't see where in the book they finally accepted themselves. I mean they did eventually, but there was no 'ah ha' moment. The ending just kind of ended. I will continue reading Kristan but will never read or recommend this book.
An emotional journey of friendship, self-awareness and finding the ideal way to just be YOU! Through a roller coaster of emotions, Kristan Higgins takes us on a journey of three women who met and became the best of friends just before they all embarked on that all encompassing journey of starting college and starting a life on their own. They stayed in touch through the years and even as life's ups and downs took them further apart, they all held the others dear to their heart and knew one day they'd do that dream get together again. Only the end comes way too soon for one of them, and it leaves the other two reeling and finding comfort in the friendship they shared. The story brings forth a beautiful message of not judging a book by it's cover, and to truly attempt to see people for who they really are, not through an obscured view of what's acceptable ... even yourself! Emerson, Georgia and Marley met and instantly clicked at weight-loss camp the summer before they were starting college. Georgia and Marley settled closer together, so they stayed in better contact, but Emerson was further away and brought into the loop when possible. Now in their thirties, Georgia and Marley are saddened to be called to Emerson's side as she wanted to secure a promise from them on her deathbed ... she wanted them to complete the list of dreams they compiled as teens. Georgia loved and lost early in life because she failed to see the worth she gave to life and her relationships. An ever unpleasant family dynamic between an impossible to please mother and a judgement brother made for a warped view of love, family and self-worth. When a second chance at happiness crosses her path, will she be able to see a brighter future for herself in time to jump out and hold on? Marley has spent her life living on the edge of guilt because she still has a life that she feels like the twin sister she lost at the age of four just might have deserved more than her. She comes across as the most confident of the three, but part of her doesn't live for herself, and doesn't allow herself to be treated the way she deserves. When faced with the possibility of love, will she be able to overcome her demons and believe she deserves it?
I love, love, love Kristan Higgins, but Good Luck with That just didn't do it for me. I couldn't relate to the characters on so many different levels, but I think it's inspiring that the story is trying to connect with women who have body issues. It was written with her unique blend of humor and emotion, which was a plus because otherwise I wouldn't have gotten through the novel. *ARC provided via First to Read*
This is a sweet, funny, thoughtful, and emotional book. It deals with a very sensitive topic for a lot of people: our weight. There's no doubt in my mind that some people will think this book isn't sensitive enough, and may not find it a pleasant read. Having never personally struggled with trying to lose weight, it gave me some new perspectives. I know that some people won't find this book accurate for their personal story, but I appreciated looking at things from a different perspective and thought it gave me a better understanding of what many women deal with. This book is the story of three good friends: Emerson, Georgia, and Marley. They're very different people, but they have two things in common. They have each struggled with their weight, and they love each other. They met as teenagers, and while they haven't always been able to spend significant amount of time together since, they have kept their connection to each other. They're now in their mid-thirties, and Emerson has come to the end of her life. Her struggles with her weight escalated over the years, and eventually led to health complications that will kill her. Georgia and Marley hadn't seen their old friend in some time, but they rush to her side when she calls them. Emerson leaves them something behind... a list they made as teenagers, "Things to Do When We're Skinny". As silly as it may seem to them now, especially at first, the list is made up of things they desperately wanted to experience as teenagers. Emerson wants them to complete it. For the rest of the story, we follow Georgia and Marley as they grant their friend's last wish and deal with their own issues and heartaches. We also get to know Emerson better through journal entries, which are especially poignant and heartbreaking because we know how it ends for her. By the end, I had fallen in love with each character for different reasons. I'm not ashamed to say this book made me cry several times, it's an incredibly emotional read! I would say it's absolutely worth a look and I really appreciated it. 4.5 stars from me. Elisha from Berkley Publishing kindly sent me an ARC of this book to read and review. This in no way affects my opinion.
Excellent book with great, realistic characters, and great story lines! I love the fact that Ms Higgins dealt with body image in this book, it is such a huge issue for women (& men). She did such a great job in describing the way different women deal with their body image issues, as well as illuminating just how all encompassing body issues can (& often do) become for people. Thank you for such a fun and enlightening book.... I had a hard tine putting it down, and always couldn’t wait to get back to it! Now that I have finished the book, I already miss Georgia, Marley, Mason, Rafe, and Will.
Great read and emotional. Hits on points all women can relate too.
As with most Kristan Higgins books only read in public if you don't mind uncontrollable fits of laughter. This book will make you laugh, it will make you think, it will even make you tear up, but its the laughter that will get you through it. 3 teenager girls meet at "fat" camp and as they get older the list they made when they were young gets forgotten as they try to live their lives haunted by food and being on the other side of "over weight". They struggle, build lives, one gets married and becomes a lawyer, one becomes a Chef and one just gets bigger. You will love these women because we all struggle, some of us just do it in view of all to see. It's an unforgettable journey they take and I was cheering them on all the way! I think this book should be a must read for high school students so they can see both sides of the struggle and be better people. Kudos Kristan on a wonderful story.
I was almost afraid to read this book because of all the hype and negative comments. I am so glad someone was able to write about this important issue with humour and warmth. I am glad it was Kristin Higgins who wrote it! I am so very glad I read it!
This book broke my heart, made me pray, laugh then weep. The losses, the family dynamics and crazy friend banter were all so very real. I've told everyone I know to please read this book. Now I'm going back to re-read every Kristan Higgins from the past whether or not I've already read it-amazing author.
Beautifully written...funny, sad, hard to read at times, but ultimately uplifting.
This is the story of three friends: Emerson Duval, Georgia Sloan and Marley DeFelice. They met at a weight loss camp when they were 17-years old and forged a bond that continued into adulthood. Each woman deals with their body in different ways, all seemingly tied to issues stemming from some form of childhood trauma or body shaming by those who should have loved and nurtured them. The stories were fascinating as each of the women presented separate insights into the issues surrounding being overweight. We begin with Emerson whose morbid obesity becomes her downfall and we get her story through her journal entries. Despite her own obsession with her weight, we get to know her ideals, hopes and dreams through those entries. She challenges Marley and Georgia to do those things now on a list they created at the camp that outlines all the things they would do when they became “skinny.” As Marley and Georgia take on the list, they’re forced to confront issues holding them back and keeping them from being their authentic selves. Sometimes the situations were heartbreaking but what resounds so loudly and clearly are the essence of these women. The author gets it right in each circumstance as I’ve either lived some part of their history or lived with someone who grappled with weight. I found the story brilliant and brave as the author speaks from her own personal experience. You have to read the entire story (some of the critics have cherry picked passages and made assumptions) to truly get the power and triumph of these women. I didn’t grow up with weight issues, but grappled with them as an adult because of the body shaming I experienced in my youth. The negative dialogue in your own head can be even more destructive than others, which only compounds the problem. This is an important and time relevant story. I’m glad Higgins chose to write it. (FYI, this story is loosely connected to If You Only Knew & On Second Thought as they are set in Cambry-on-Hudson, New York.) I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review
Definitely not a gripping page turner, but a nice story just the same. Reminding you of what is really important in life.
Great book! Cried, laughed and enjoyed reading every page!