That’s fine. It’s fine. I’m fine.
How many times a day do you say it? And how many times is “fine” code for #NOTATALLOKAY? That’s the crux of Camille Pagan’s wonderful new novel, I’m Fine and Neither Are You.
I’m Fine and Neither Are You introduces us to Penelope Ruiz-Kar, a wife, mother, and breadwinner who is doing everything in her power to stay afloat with her demanding job, underemployed husband, and expensive kids. Her best friend Jenny, on the other hand, has it all together, with her beautiful home, perfect marriage, impeccably put-together child, and successful lifestyle blog. When a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life may not be as fine as she’s always let on, Penelope begins to question everything she thought she knew. Desperate to salvage her strained marriage, Penelope proposes a deal to her husband, Sanjay: they both need to come up with a list of things they want the other to change, and they both need to move forward with complete honesty. What could possibly go wrong? With humor, heart, and a tear or two, I’m Fine and Neither Are You is a beautiful tale about what happens when we drop all pretenses and admit the truth to friends, to loved ones, and–most of all–to ourselves.
Camille Pagan gets down to the very marrow of her characters, creating lives that are beautiful in their flaws, never as they appear at first glance, and entirely human and relatable. At every turn, I was surprised and moved by where the story led, and I was completely invested not only in Penny’s life, but the lives of everyone around her. No character here is cookie cutter. They are real, raw, make mistakes, have wonderful qualities, have not-so-wonderful qualities, and, for the most part, are just doing their best. Those are the kinds of characters I will never tire of reading, and Camille Pagan is the kind of author I will return to time and time again.
If you’re looking for a touching and honest novel that will stay in your heart, be sure to pick up I’m Fine and Neither Are You. It may make you stop yourself the next time you automatically say, “I’m fine,” and it may make you take a closer look at all of the “fine” people around you, too.
Pick up I’m Fine and Neither Are You at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, IndieBound, or your favorite bookseller! For more on Camille Pagan and her thought-provoking (and perfectly titled) books, visit camillepagan.com and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.