If you want to read the spoiler, highlight between the two ♈ symbols. For those using the Word Press Reader: the text between the two symbols won’t be hidden – so if you don’t want the story to be spoiled, look away when you get to the ♈ symbols or visit my actual site to avoid them.
I had a hard time trying to decide what I was going to rate this one you guys. On the one hand, this was such a heartwarming read that I think is so necessary in today’s climate, but on the other hand, the ending felt a little bit untrue to the story.
The Friend Zone is the story of Kristen Peterson, a refreshingly honest female protagonist, who is planning to have a hysterectomy so she can finally be free from extremely painful, long, and just plain rude periods. But first, she has to get through her best friend’s wedding. She’s the Maid of Honor at the wedding and doesn’t want to be incapacitated for it. Enter Josh Copeland, the groom’s best friend, and the Best Man. He’s exactly the kind of guy that Kristen could see herself falling for, except for the fact that he wants to have a big family. And so follows a heartrending tale of Kristen trying to maintain her distance from Josh so that he can have the kind of life that he envisions for himself, and Josh hardcore pursuing Kristen because he likes her and has no idea why she keeps putting him off.
I will say that this novel had one of my biggest pet peeves in it, and that is characters that don’t talk to each other. Now this story was kind of an exception, because in Kristen’s case, I can totally get why she’s not straightforward with her news. It’s extremely personal. A woman’s reproductive rights are her own business, so I get it. But she also had quite a few opportunities to come clean to Josh, after their attraction kind of combusts, that she didn’t quite take advantage of. She just essentially refused to open up to Josh on the basis that she knew what was best for him. And if a male character did this, I would definitely be pissed.
To talk about the part that felt untrue, that means I’m going to have to talk
🚨🚨🚨 SPOILERS 🚨🚨🚨
so, if you want to read the book yourself (unspoiled), here would be the section to avoid.
♈ Pretty much the entire story is Kristen coming to grips with the fact that she’s going to have to give up her ability to have children if she wants to live a comfortable life. I know it sounds terrible (even though she’s a fictional character) to say, but I was kind of hopeful that Kristen wouldn’t get pregnant. Reproductive issues are so prevalent these days, maybe because women are less afraid to speak out about things that were once frowned upon. But I know there are women out there who need Kristen’s story. It just felt disingenuous that the entire book is essentially about Kristen refusing Josh because she can’t have kids and he wants kids, only for her to end up getting pregnant in the end. Abby Jimenez did state in the note after the story that “Kristen’s happy ending was never about getting pregnant, but was about allowing herself to be loved, despite what she felt were shortcomings. It was about recognizing that she wasn’t defined by her ability to have children and that her worth went beyond the state of her uterus.” Which, yeah she did learn that in the end and it was a beautiful arc to watch – but I guess I feel deceived then by the whole book? It’s kind of hard to articulate my thoughts on this one. And I will say that the pregnancy part of the book was really small. Like maybe the last two chapters, so it didn’t take away from Jimenez’s intended message too much. But just enough to jar me from a 4 star rating. ♈
Despite my feelings above, this was still a great book. Both Kristen and Josh were HILARIOUS and I think the world needs more books that don’t value women on the status of their uterus, which admittedly, is kind of hard to find in romance. The world also needs more male characters like Josh: caring and completely unfazed and understanding of the issues that women go through. Overall this book gave me exactly what I was looking for: a nice fun (sometimes heavy) break from what’s going on in my own life.