There are a lot of stories about female friendships out there. New ones, old ones, life-changing ones…
I Thought You Said This Would Work by Ann Garvin is about all three.
Most importantly, it’s about reconnecting over an old friendship where the main character has no idea what happened to end it.
As someone who has been the receiver of more than one ghosted friendship (maybe it’s me?), the idea of wanting closure on just what happened is something I really related to.
Truly, the book is full of relatable characters and moments. Though I promise you have never heard of a road trip quite like this.
“I Thought You Said This Would Work” Shows What’s the Best and Worst In Female Friendships
Our hero, Samantha Arias, is conflict avoidant. So conflict-avoidant in fact that she has a sleep disorder where she needs to take a nap whenever she feels stress or a fight coming on.
This is exactly what she wants to do when she learns that not only does her best friend Katie maybe have cancer again, but that Holly, their former third musketeer, is already at her friend’s side.
Wanting to do something useful while they wait for results, Samantha offers to get Katie’s dog Peanut back from where her ex-husband has him in California. With her sleep disorder, Holly needs to come to.
As stressful as that idea is, maybe Samantha will learn why Holly cut her out of her life so abruptly when they graduated college so many years ago.
Hilarity ensues when they pick up a former celebrity tv show host Summer as a ride along on the road trip, while romance maybe blossoms back home with a doctor Samantha met and asks to help keep her updated on Katie. This is a big deal because Samantha hasn’t even dated since her husband died before her daughter was born 18 years ago.
I think you’ll agree, there is a lot of meat in this story to work with, and Ann Gavin does justice to all the elements.
How Samantha struggles to reconnect with Holly, who now appears to hate her, even though they were so close years ago.
How Summer both helps and buffers that reconnection by being the third wheel on the trip.
How texting with someone new you are into can just be so… thrilling.
Through it all, Ann Gavin manages to hit a perfect balance of poignancy with fun. If I make it sound like this story is all bleakness and people mourning their losses, I’m doing it a disservice.
What it really made me feel was how much I want to go on a road trip! And also to call my girlfriends and tell them I love them.
You never know how much time we will have with someone, and that is definitely a strong theme throughout the book. The sense of time lost that can never be got back, and how even with a lifetime sometimes it’s not enough.
While this could be a maudlin idea, instead it comes across as sweet. Sweet, and motivating to not let that same regret ever be something you have to feel.
It’s in our darkest and lightest moments that we really want to hold those friendships close.
If you like happily sad, funny, quirky stories you can read over a weekend and that might make you cry, I Thought You Said This Would Work is the novel for you.
Memorable Quotes from “I Thought You Said This Would Work”
“Safety and the idea that you can keep anyone safe is an illusion. But, loving someone is the ultimate safekeeping.”
“We’re odd, we humans,” she would say. “We know people die, but we act astonished when it happens. What is astonishing about death is our certainty that it isn’t going to happen to us or anyone we know without some kind of warning. And, we live our life doing stupid things like gossiping, when we should spend all our days planting flowers.”
“That was what true survival was, keeping the heart beating while continuing to feel everything.”
“This was the comfort of love. It didnt cure cancer or reduce the pain of childbith, but it cloaked lovers, friends, and family in an embrace that stretched far and wide and was supremely difficult to break, despite our best idiotic efforts.”
Book Club Questions
Ready to discuss the book with your book club or reading group?
Check out I Thought You Said This Would Work Book Club Questions for a full list of ideas to get you started.
What to Read Next: More Easy Reads
Looking to make reading a more regular thing? Why not start a book club! Check out my article on How to Form a Book Club for tips on creating the ideal club for your lifestyle.