Publish Date: June 16, 2020
“It’s just as well parents get a decade of cute and cuddly children before they turn into teenagers, otherwise humans would have died out long ago.” — I Was Told It Would Get Easier
Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.
For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school…. They have to, right?
For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.
Together with a dozen strangers—and two familiar enemies—Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever.
Abbi Waxman is my favorite Women’s Fiction writer. She takes relatable topics, endearing characters, poignant themes, and whirls up engaging emotional stories that have me laughing, crying, nodding, and laughing again from start to finish. I have read all of Abbi Waxman’s books and each one is amazing.
This time, Abbi Waxman’s story I Was Told It Would Get Easier centers around single working mom Jessica and her teenage daughter Emily as they take an East Coast college tour to visit schools. Jessica and Emily have their ups and downs just like any mom and teen daughter relationship. The story is told from both Jessica and Emily’s perspectives and the reader gets a chance to get into both of their heads.
This book especially hit home for me, because I am a working mom with teen daughters. Teens have intense pressure to balance sports, extracurriculars, and perfect grades so that they can apply to the top colleges. And they’re moody as hell, full of emotions… you never know what you’re going to get, because it changes by the minute. As I write this, my two daughters are trying to decide which college they want to attend. It’s an overwhelming, exciting, and pivotal decision that changes your life forever. This book touches on many of things that my family and I have gone through.
Many of the interactions between Jessica and Emily are similar to ones that I’ve had with my own daughters. The story was SO relatable to me, and the struggle is real. While I know that this is a fictional tale, the story was like mom therapy for me.
I love how Abbi Waxman weaves in characters from other books into her stories. This time, Frances from Other People’s Houses makes appearances in this book as Jessica’s best friend and her unofficial therapist.
My favorite quotes:
“Truth is a deadly foe when you’re trying to get along with hundreds of other parents for a dozen years.”
“Regret is one of those emotions that outpunches reality: Even if you 100 percent could not have done things differently, it still pops up and takes a jab.”
“Teenagers. What can you do? They’re vain and obsessed but then they hit on the truth with hammer so big all you can do is hope the reverberations don’t kill you.”
“Teen girls are like their mothers, friendly in person and vipers in private.”
“Everyone wants to get into a ‘name’ school, one that when you tell people you got in, they make that face, the face that says, ‘You won the game, you’re set for life’.”
“Little-kid problems are so much more easily solved than teenage problems. I’m fully aware I’m not the first parent to notice this.”
Abbi Waxman’s writing style is warm, casual and conversational. She writes like she is having a chat with a good friend. There are a lot of characters in the book, but she does a great job making each one distinct so that you can keep them straight.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is about motherhood, balancing career and family, sexism, ethics, parenting, choices, and friendship. I loved this story, and it really resonated with me. Highly recommend!
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss exchange for an honest review.