Hubscher, Libby. If You Ask Me. Berkeley, 2022. ISBN 9780593199442. 368 pp. $16.00
In an effort to purge the cheater from her life, she gathers his most treasured belongings and sets them on fire. A hottie firefighter who happens to live two streets over arrives on the scene and then Dez keeps turning up as she gets into various scrapes. As she works through her rage, grief, revenge, and acceptance, the genteel tone of her columns change, she starts to tell it like it is, and her blistering responses go viral.
Violet has a kind of picture perfect life: engaged to a looks-good-on-paper guy, living in a nice house, and on the cusp of having her advice column Dear Sweetie syndicated… when she walks in on her fiance having sex (in their bed!) with the cute tight-bodied neighbor that is Violet’s inspiration for dragging her own butt to the gym. She throws him out (yay, Violet!), recognizes they’ve been going through the motions for some time… and her fiance really isn’t that kind, but is a a little selfish and controlling (on top of the screwing around).
There is a lot to love about this book, starting with it’s not a traditional rom-com, because it brings in issues of infidelity, infertility and bullying with compassion and honesty. The American South adds a layer on to Violet’s personality, the setting, and the plot. The situations are real, and by turns funny and gut-wrenching. I was cheering for her through the whole book, and not just for the potential relationship with Dez, but for herself, her career, her family and her healing. I love novels that incorporate other elements into the narrative, and Sweetie’s advice columns and texts with Dez help flesh out the story.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #IfYouAskMe from #NetGalley