Facing Cancer From a Surprising Source: "All You Could Ask For", by Mike Greenberg - Book Review

Mike Greenberg, most commonly known as Greenie and the co-host of ESPN’s Mike & Mike, writes a novel from the perspective of three women. Huh? I was immediately skeptical. As metrosexual and into clothes shopping as Greenie is, at heart, he’s a sports nerd and I doubted he’d be able to convincingly shift into a women’s voice without sounding insincere. I was wrong.

Written as a tribute to his dear friend Heidi who lost her battle with breast cancer, Greenberg’s All You Could Ask For centers around three women, Brooke, Samantha and Katherine, who begin the story completely unconnected to one another. By the end, they have forged friendships through their shared experience that will bind them together for the rest of their lives.

While Greenberg occasionally drops in a silly cliché (no woman ever seriously says a guy makes her quiver), his insight into the female psyche is quite prophetic. He writes about broken hearts, loneliness, motherhood, and the depths of female friendship in ways that have you forgetting he’s a male author as you read.

He writes a touching story about a touchy topic. Cancer hits people where it finds them, and not all cancer sufferers handle their diagnoses in the same way. Even as a reader, I found myself judging certain characters’ reactions to their brushes with cancer but Greenie does this on purpose, I think. He does it to hammer home the idea that it is up to every person, in this book, every woman, to decide how and what to do with her body. Her body, her choice. In that vein, Greenberg speaks to a broader issue than cancer, whether he means to or not.

All You Could Ask For is a tearjerker, but in a mostly upbeat way. While cancer is the underlying common thread, Greenberg’s focus is the bonds that can be forged between women who truly need, love, and respect one another and how unassailable those bonds are once in place.

Kudos to Greenie for having the courage to write this book, doing it so well, and so beautifully honoring the life of his friend, Heidi. On top of his meaningful story, he contributed all of his profits from the book to The V Foundation for Cancer Research to combat breast cancer.

Published: 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Elizabeth's rating: 3 ½