Alison Hammer comes to the blog with her debut offering, a story of love, loss, friendship and family with
You and Me and Us
Tommy, Alexis and CeCe are a family, and the story is told in short chapters from all three perspectives, but mostly from Alexis and CeCe’s points of view. Emotionally available, with sweet memories from the past, as we see the relationships from all sides, it’s not long before the bittersweet enters the equation with Tommy’s diagnosis of cancer, and his decision to ‘not fight’ the disease with radiation, chemo or other treatments. Alexis is a solver: her work is successful because of her hard work, her attention to detail and her researching: looking for new angles and options to solve an advertising campaign. And she’s devastated by Tommy’s refusal to discussing options, to choose leaving her and CeCe without him rather than fight. There are reasons that both are so adamant about their choices: Tommy and CeCe are interconnected, while Alexis’ work ethic and her own insecurities about her parenting have left her relationship with CeCe as the more difficult one. CeCe is a born actress, aided by fourteen year old hormones and upheaval, and years of feeling ‘second’ to Lexi’s job, while Tommy is far more patient and listens well – part of his work as a therapist and part of who he is: thoughtful, kind, loving and stable.
Tommy’s biggest decision is to move to their summer beach house in Destin, spend time as a family, work on his kick the bucket list, and just enjoy a summer making memories with ‘his girls’ that will, he hopes, sustain them after he is gone. One of Lexi’s best friends still lives in town with her two children: children that are friends with CeCe, even if they are a few years older. CeCe isn’t happy about the move, devastated and trying to ignore her father’s eminent demise, and determined to punish her mother every chance she gets for simply not being Tommy.
Through the story, we learn of their past, their histories, and the struggles with glimpses of joy that appear, usually quickly tempered with sorrow at the situation, as the three drift together and apart as everyone seems locked in their own thoughts, or in the case of CeCe and Lexi, things unsaid because Lexi is too afraid to speak what she wants to- for the reaction she’ll get. As Tommy’s health deteriorates, they find support and ways to ‘move through the day’ while Tommy’s doing his level best to show them both his love, their strength, and lay the groundwork by bringing friends together for support. There is an equal mix of laughter and tears here, and the most striking emotion that is left is love: love to help you through, move you forward, let you look back and remember with a smile (eventually) and not just tears – but love. A wonderful debut and a favorite read for the moments and memories, as well as the lessons to take away.
Title: You and Me and Us
Author: Alison Hammer
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Dual Narration, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Setting: American
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 7 April, 2020
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 47 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
The heartbreaking, yet hopeful, story of a mother and daughter struggling to be a family without the one person who holds them together—a perfect summer read for fans of Jojo Moyes and Marisa de los Santos.
Alexis Gold knows how to put the “work” in working mom. It’s the “mom” part that she’s been struggling with lately. Since opening her own advertising agency three years ago, Alexis has all but given up on finding a good work/life balance. Instead, she’s handed over the household reins to her supportive, loving partner, Tommy. While he’s quick to say they divide and conquer, Alexis knows that Tommy does most of the heavy lifting—especially when it comes to their teenage daughter, CeCe.
Their world changes in an instant when Tommy receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Alexis realizes everything she’s worked relentlessly for doesn’t matter without him. So Alexis does what Tommy has done for her almost every day since they were twelve-year-old kids in Destin, Florida—she puts him first. And when the only thing Tommy wants is to spend one last summer together at “their” beach, she puts her career on hold to make it happen…even if it means putting her family within striking distance of Tommy’s ex, an actress CeCe idolizes.
But Alexis and Tommy aren’t the only ones whose lives have been turned inside out. In addition to dealing with the normal ups and downs that come with being a teenager, CeCe is also forced to confront her feelings about Tommy’s illness—and what will happen when the one person who’s always been there for her is gone. When the magic of first love brings a bright spot to her summer, CeCe is determined not to let her mother ruin that for her, too.
As CeCe’s behavior becomes more rebellious, Alexis realizes the only thing harder for her than losing Tommy will be convincing CeCe to give her one more chance.
You and Me and Us is a beautifully written novel that examines the unexpected ways loss teaches us how to love.
A copy of this title was provided via for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.