Picador | July 2018 | 352 pgs
Source: Library

In her latest release, Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott has weaved a compelling story about secrets and the beauty and complexity of female friendship between our two protagonists, Kit Owens and Diane Fleming. 

Kit first knew Diane when they were both in high school cross-country camp. Kit's first impression of Diane is that she is both intelligent and a driven girl. Diane seems to excel in almost everything, and she comes from a wealthy family to boot. Kit, on the other hand, wasn't as driven and it was Diane who had fueled the ambition into her after they were both in the same AP Chemistry class. At that time, there was the "Dr. Lena Severin Stem Scholarship for Women in Science" program and Kit remembers her as the first female scientist she'd met during a talk for their summer science program. Kit and Diane's friendship began to grow after they'd found their shared ambition but then it was later ripped apart after Diane told Kit about her secret - a terrible thing which she'd done. 

After they'd gone their separate ways after graduation, Kit has now risen to the top of her profession as she works for Dr. Severin and her team for a two-year study of PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder). However, with limited funds and such there will be only two staff who would be given the grant. Aside from Dr. Severin, Kit is the only female in the group and given her gender and her hard work all these times she thinks she has a higher chance of getting it ... until Diane joins their group. 

After all the years which passed between them, Kit remains the only one who has known Diane's secret. But now Diane knows something about Kit too after an incident which may threaten Kit's career. Who will go down first? 

I don't think I've come across any author who has written such a fascinating yet complicated female friendship like Megan Abbott. She has captured all the intricateness and darkness between Kit and Diane's friendship as well as their similarities and differences through their dreams and personalities. As much as I was intrigued by the two women's ambition and desire, I think the other thing which captivated me is about the difficulties and the challenges faced by women working in a male-dominated field. To be on par with their male counterparts, they work extra hard and push themselves harder even though they are not inferior to them in so many ways. And again, Ms. Abbott has beautifully captured that kind of feeling and atmosphere through our three female characters, including the cool, mighty Dr. Severin. 

This book is a slow-burn for a thriller, but it's intriguing and an unputdownable one for characters development, the felicity and complications between female friendship as well as the subject of PMDD. 

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16 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    Some current topical themes in this one that interest me. Some books require that slow burn.

  2. Jenny Says:

    Very interesting that anything dealing with PMDD is a male dominated field. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Slow burn thrillers are fun.

  3. Kay Says:

    I think that Megan Abbott has a real knack for writing female characters in new and different ways. Really looking forward to reading this one. Nice review, Melody!

  4. Lark Says:

    Great review, Melody! I wish I hadn't just checked out five books from the library or I'd see if I could get this one. But I only have time to read so many. :)

  5. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Yes, some books require a slow burn and this is one of those. Usually I'll probably get impatient with that for a thriller but I was hooked by the characters and all the dynamics. ;)

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenny - Not only in this field but in other fields like medical, engineering, etc. I know there are some jobs which are especially more male-dominated due to the job nature but I'm glad there are more women filling the roles as their male counterparts now as compared to the past.

  7. Melody Says:

    Kay - Yep, she definitely has the knack for writing female characters in a new and different ways, doesn't she? Hope you'll enjoy this one as much as I did, Kay.

  8. Melody Says:

    Lark - Hopefully next time during your visit to the library, Lark. How many books can you borrow from your local library? Ours is a limit of eight books.

  9. Lark Says:

    My library has like a 30 item limit which you can then keep for 3 weeks. But who can realistically read 30 books in 3 weeks? I try to limit myself to 10 items or less.

  10. Melody Says:

    Lark - Wow, that's a lot of books to borrow! I wish ours are like yours. :)

  11. Verushka Says:

    It really does have some intriguing bits in this -- I just couldn't quite deal with the slow burn beginning!

  12. Melody Says:

    Verushka - Fortunately the pace picks up towards the middle.

  13. I like reading books where women have to work extra hard to prove themselves in a male dominated profession or world. Even though it shouldn't be that way, it is true to life. This sounds really interesting and you have me curious about the relationship between Kit and Diane. It sounds complicated to say the least. And secrets . . . I can't resist a novel involving secrets.

  14. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Me too, Wendy. Always love reading books about women with dreams and ambitions. They're always an inspiration, aren't they? I hope you'll enjoy reading this book if you get to it, Wendy.

  15. Iliana Says:

    I don't mind a slow book if it has a great pay off which does one sounds like it does!

  16. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, I don't mind the slow pace as long as it's intriguing and the ending is a good one. :)

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