There’s a wealth of positive things that have come from the #metoo movement, one of them being a vast improvement in women’s contemporary fiction, aka ‘chick lit’. Do This For Me by Eliza Kennedy features wealthy attractive people struggling with domestic issues, but instead of glossing over the major issues that face women in today’s workforce, it deals with (some of) them straight on.
Raney Moore is our protagonist and she’s as well-rounded as one can get; a young whip-smart attorney at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, a doting mother to two well-behaved teens, and a loving wife to the now-famous ‘bug man’ Aaron. But when it’s revealed that Aaron has been cheating on Raney (which is a legitimate surprise to everyone, considering how strong their marriage seemed), Raney is thrown into a rare fit of rage, hell-bent on ruining his professional reputation as retaliation. Once her anger subsides, she thoughtfully turns her problem-solving inwards, and decides to work on her inner and outer self in an effort to move past this new bump in an otherwise perfect life.
Is this book predictable? Of course it is. Is it a really fun read that I’d recommend to many of my girlfriends? Definitely. There’s sex, shopping, shameless flirting and delicious revenge. Like the hot-pink cover suggests, this book is saucy and fun, and it delivers from start to finish. The depiction of Raney’s relationship with her husband Aaron is probably the most realistic and thought-provoking part of this book. I (thankfully) don’t know many wives who have been cheated on by their husbands, but I’m sure it comes as a surprise to many spouses when it finally does happen. Not many people ‘see it coming’, and if they do, they’re probably they ones cheating. Regardless of your stance or experience with cheating, this book takes a clear-eyed look at it from all sides.
Raney is a frustrating character; she’s impossibly perfect, and was somehow able to make her way up the extremely competitive corporate ladder of law while being a young women with young children, all while maintaining her sanity and marriage. How is this even possible? But if you’re able to suspend your disbelief for that short part of her life, her inner turmoil is entirely realistic, and her eventual breakdown is a welcome relief for the reader, lest you begin to think Raney is a superwoman and not entirely human. She’s got a wonderful friend named Sarah who tells it like it is because she was cheated on too, and along with Raney’s therapist they’re able to piece together a plan that will help Raney ‘get her groove back’ (sorry not sorry).
Along her journey to redemption, Raney takes advantage of some underlings at her firm, which is horrifying to read about at first, but the author is quick to point out the parallels between Raney’s behaviour and other male lawyers who do this on the regular. Painting a clear picture of the double standards Raney faces throughout her time as a female lawyer is the key to moving past her inner torment, and it doesn’t turn into a men vs. women story as these can sometimes do. In the end, it feels as though Raney gains empowerment not through the expense of another man, or despite of it, she achieves it through insight and maturity, which is a lovely message to be left with.