“It’s a good thing that this is only the first book of a trilogy, because after getting to know Tabitha, you won’t want to leave her at the end. . . . Written intimately as if you’re peering into the mind of a close friend, this book is a true testament to the stresses on women today and how great girlfriends (and grandmothers) are often the key to our sanity.” — Good Morning America
The first novel in a captivating three-book series about modern womanhood, in which a young Black woman must rely on courage, laughter, and love—and the support of her two longtime friends—to overcome an unexpected setback that threatens the most precious thing she’s ever wanted.
Tabitha Walker is a black woman with a plan to “have it all.” At 33 years old, the checklist for the life of her dreams is well underway. Education? Check. Good job? Check. Down payment for a nice house? Check. Dating marriage material? Check, check, and check. With a coveted position as a local news reporter, a "paper-perfect" boyfriend, and even a standing Saturday morning appointment with a reliable hairstylist, everything seems to be falling into place.
Then Tabby receives an unexpected diagnosis that brings her picture-perfect life crashing down, jeopardizing the keystone she took for granted: having children. With her dreams at risk of falling through the cracks of her checklist, suddenly she is faced with an impossible choice between her career, her dream home, and a family of her own.
With the help of her best friends, the irreverent and headstrong Laila and Alexis, the mom jeans-wearing former "Sexy Lexi," and the generational wisdom of her grandmother and the nonagenarian firebrand Ms. Gretchen, Tabby explores the reaches of modern medicine and tests the limits of her relationships, hoping to salvage the future she always dreamed of. But the fight is all consuming, demanding a steep price that forces an honest reckoning for nearly everyone in her life. As Tabby soon learns, her grandmother's age-old adage just might still be true: Black girls must die exhausted.
Allen's promising debut follows a Black reporter as she navigates matters of race, womanhood, and loyalty while gunning for a promotion at the L.A. TV station where she works. After 33-year-old Tabitha Walker's father left her and her mother when Tabitha was little, she grew close to her white paternal grandmother and visited her weekly at her nursing home, dreaming of a time when she could move both of them into a house. Back in the present, Tabitha's boyfriend reveals he's not ready to marry and be a father, so Tabitha spends the money she'd been saving for a house on freezing her eggs. Meanwhile, Tabitha's oldest friend separates from her husband after he admits his infidelity, and another friend dates a married man and starts keeping secrets. As Tabitha rises at work, she emphasizes the importance of perspective in her reporting on issues that affect Black people, such as gentrification and encounters with police, and Allen smartly mirrors the theme of perspective with the story of Tabitha's personal life, as Tabitha considers how her own point of view has shaped her feelings for others. Though the writing can sometimes be clunky, with overly descriptive sentences, Allen has the chops to become a terrific storyteller. There's a lot of potential here.