My Ride Or Die
My Ride or Die is a story about sisterhood. You can define sisterhood about a thousand different ways, but in Leslie Cohen’s book, it means that special kind of one-on-one friendship that causes you to build blanket forts and block away the outside world. Sophie and Amanda are easy to relate to, but some of the ways in which Cohen writes about their evolving friendship didn’t quite work for me.
Sophie and Amanda (neither protagonist is ever given a last name) have been best friends for ages. Amanda is an uncompromising, successful and serious lawyer but has developed a panic disorder in the traumatic wake of her parents’ long-ago divorce that leaves her debilitated. Sophie is an artist, well-traveled (from Brazil, as she often says) and tough, but flighty – moving from job to job in pursuit of her muse. When one of the girls leaves her fiancé at the altar and the other leaves a long-term boyfriend, they decide enough is enough.
The two women make a pact; they decide – after multiple failed relationships – to commit to each other instead of men, whom they will treat like the disposable objects they feel they have been treated as themselves. They will move in together and provide each other with all of the moral and spiritual support they need. Unfortunately, Amanda begins to fall for one of her one-night squeezes, resulting in a conflict that may separate the women for good.
My Ride or Die has a pretty big pacing issue that dragged the grade way down. There’s a second or two about how the girls have renovated their home together, and then pages and pages of meandering conversations between them that seem to lead nowhere. This and turns the book into something of a slog.
Amanda and Sophie feel somewhat weakly drawn as well, coming off a little flat. But as someone who suffers from anxiety disorder, I understood Amanda’s panic very well, and found her reasons for controlling her life reasonably drawn as the flashpoint for the panic was explored. In fact, it’s so well done that the blurb’s promise of hilarity fails to develop. Most of the book is a character study and ultimately a story about two women trying to make their way in the world while negotiating an eventually uncomfortably intimate relationship.
Cohen does have a good feeling for what life is like for art neophytes trying to break into the medium, though. And I did like her prose, which is really smooth and well-honed. Those are the reasons why My Ride or Die ends up roughly in the ‘middling’ category. Cruising comfortably to a stop instead of managing to become something new and interesting with its material, it’s a decent story and an okay ride through a modern friendship that goes awry and yet survives to become something sweet.
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