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My Best Friend's Girl
by Dorothy Koomson

Published: 2008-03-25
Paperback : 480 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
How far would you go for the best friend who broke your heart? This internationally bestselling novel tells an enchanting tale of life’s most unpredictable loves and heartaches, and the unforgettable bond between a single woman and an extraordinary five-year-old girl. From the moment ...
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Introduction

How far would you go for the best friend who broke your heart? This internationally bestselling novel tells an enchanting tale of life’s most unpredictable loves and heartaches, and the unforgettable bond between a single woman and an extraordinary five-year-old girl. From the moment they met in college, best friends Adele Brannon and Kamryn Matika thought nothing could come between them—until Adele did the unthinkable and slept with Kamryn’s fiancé, Nate. Now, after years of silence, the two women are reuniting, and Adele has a stunning request for her old friend: she wants Kamryn to adopt her five-year-old daughter, Tegan.

Besides the difference in skin color—many will assume that headstrong, impulsive Kamryn is Tegan’s nanny—there’s the inconvenient truth that Kamryn is wholly unprepared to take care of anyone, especially someone who reminds her so much of Nate. With crises brewing at work and her love life in shambles, can Kamryn somehow become the mother a little girl needs her to be?

In My Best Friend’s Girl, Dorothy Koomson takes us on a warm and wondrous journey through laughter and tears, forgiveness and hope—and the enduring love forged by the unlikeliest of families.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

Chapter One


The postman jumped as I snatched open the front door to my block of flats and eagerly greeted him.

Usually when we came face-to-face, he'd have buzzed up to my first-floor flat and I'd come shuffling down to the ground level, pulling on my dressing gown as I tried to rub dried sleep drizzle off my face. Today, though, I'd been hanging out of my window waiting for him. I was in my usual dressing gown and had sleep-sculpted hair, but this time my eyes weren't barely open slits, I'd washed my face and I was smiling. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the Publisher:

1. What can we infer from the fact that Adele had hundreds of people at her funeral, but only trusted an estranged friend to take care of her child? What does that say about Kamryn?
2. Why do you think Adele kept Tegan’s paternity from Nate? Do you think Adele would have told Nick the truth before she died, if Nick had returned her calls?
3. Would Kamryn ever have faced her past with Adele and Nate if she hadn’t become the guardian of Tegan?
4. Do you think Kamryn had a choice in taking guardianship of Tegan? Do you think Kamryn would have taken the child if Tegan had loving grandparents?
5. All of Kamryn’s relationships seem to grow out of negative feelings. Kamryn didn’t like Luke or Adele at first. She slept with Nate on their first date just to get rid of him. Kamryn’s relationship with Tegan is the only relationship where she does not make any judgments. How does this effect your perception of Kamryn?
6. In Adele’s letters to Kamryn, she explains what happened between her and Nate. Is the explanation satisfactory? Why was it easier for Kamryn to forgive Adele than it was for her to forgive Nate?
7. Kamryn is always questioning which man is “The One” for her. Do either Luke or Nate fit that description? Who would be better for Kamryn? For Tegan?
8. Because of Tegan, Kamryn is not considered for the position of Marketing Director. Do you think Kamryn was ready to handle the position with all the changes in her life? Do you think her boss should be the one to make that decision for her? Would Kamryn have made the right choice for her and Tegan?
9. What will happen to Kamryn and Luke? Will Kamryn, Tegan, Luke, and Nate be able to live peacefully in their makeshift family?
10. What do you think is at the core of this novel? Friendship? Love? Change? Discovery?
11. The author refers to My Best Friend’s Girl as a “heart-lit” book. Do you think this moniker is accurate?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

A note from the Author about the book:

All About My Best Friend’s Girl

by Dorothy Koomson

My Best Friend’s Girl is my third novel and it centres around the tale of Kamryn a career woman who over the course of a day becomes a mother to a five-year-old girl called Tegan. It almost sounds like a fantastical, mystical tale when described in those basic terms, but that is essentially what the book is about—and that simple idea was the inspiration for the book.

When I start to come up with the idea for a novel, I usually have a scenario—a ‘what if?’ situation —bubbling away at the back of my head that needs to be nurtured so it can be grown into a story. With My Best Friend’s Girl, I wondered: ‘What if you woke up one morning and by the end of the day you are responsible for another person?’ Usually when a woman has a child she has nine months to get used to the idea of becoming a mother—even if she doesn’t use that time to prepare herself properly, she still has time to grow accustomed to the idea. But in this case, what if the child is given to you without warning and you have no option but to go along with it?

After I had this initial idea, I thought: ‘What if this child you were suddenly asked to give all the unconditional love, support and care a mother provides for her child was the one person on earth you wouldn’t want to be around? What if becoming a child’s mother hurts you more than you can imagine?’ I then set about trying to work out why that child would cause such pain. And also why you would be in that situation of having a child under your arm, and a whole new, unexpected set of responsibilities resting heavily on your shoulders by the end of the day. Where is the ‘real’ mother? Of course, then, the story takes on a whole life of its own as it grows from the seed of an idea to the tree of a whole story. That story focuses not only how the initial situation came about but also how you would rearrange, adjust and decimate your life to fit in with this new responsibility, and how the struggles you face along the way would change you as a person.

At the core of any good story, I believe, is this idea of change. How something startling, out of the ordinary or unforeseen will change a person and if they meet the challenge or buckle under the strain. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as major a change as becoming responsible for a child, it could be starting a new job you feel drastically unqualified for, it could be moving into a new place and having to develop new relationships, it could be kissing someone you shouldn’t, it could be having to face up to a secret that you’ve hidden for many years.

Stories like that, which show how the human spirit can bend, change or break, which show how people’s emotions are tested, how their personalities are opened up, or altered or are given the opportunity to blossom are my favourite kind. When I read a novel, I want the words and the story to touch me. Even if it is not a particularly emotional subject the author is dealing with, even if it makes me laugh from beginning to end, if there is something that resonates with me—makes me laugh (which does take a lot), causes me to think about something in a different way, or makes me feel as though I know the characters by the end, then I label it heart-lit. Literature that strokes its fingers over the strings of the heart. Books that fit the label of heart-lit, I find, deal with subjects that other types of books don’t. These novels allow the reader unrestricted access the minds, lives and hearts of another ordinary person they may not otherwise get to know; these novels allow the reader to consider what they would do in that situation without ever having to go through the trauma of it themselves.

My favourite types of heart-lit books are the ones that have characters that are real. These characters aren’t nice every minute of every day, they can be difficult at times, they can—like all of us—annoy others, they can be wrong at moments and refuse to see they are. For an author it is much harder to create a character who is real because readers may not like them all the time. I remember when my British agent read the first few chapters of My Best Friend’s Girl he said he was worried Kamryn came across as being pretty unpleasant at times. (I remember thinking he should try talking to me first thing in the morning— then he’d know what unpleasant really was!) I explained to him that Kamryn, as I was creating her, was a real woman and therefore not going to be all smiles all the time. When he had read more of the book, my agent did change his mind, and agreed she seemed more like a real person because of her character flaws.

From the emails and letters I’ve received from readers of My Best Friend’s Girl across the world —it has been sold and translated in over 20 countries— it is this sense of reality that has touched people. The fact that Kamryn is not perfect, but she tries to be a better person while coping with what has been thrown at her; the fact that Tegan is a damaged child who wants nothing more than to have a family; the fact that these two bereaved people who don’t know much about each other are now having to create a new life together has inspired hundreds of people to contact me. And to tell me how much they loved the book, to share their similar stories, to confess that the novel made them cry!

I love receiving emails like that because it shows that I’ve done what I want to do with my writing—I’ve told a good story. And I’ve touched another person’s heart.

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Member Reviews

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  "I Really liked the book"by mylife580 (see profile) 09/27/10

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