Review of ‘The Book of Promises’ by Tammy Bird
Molly is dangerous. She’s the girl that parents wake up in a sweat at 2 am, fearful that their child might befriend. Not simply a wayward being but a person who is a match to gasoline.
Tammy Bird herself states that she does not write easy books to read and
this is true. Yet, I will argue that there many tender moments in ‘The Book of Promises’. There needs to be because this is a story about a main character who is breaching womanhood but perilously walking a fine line between life and death. “My name is Chloe Imani Spencer Price, but you can call me Chloe.” It takes, however, the breadth of the story for Chloe to reach this affirmation.
We meet Chloe as Spencer in a very raw scene with her best friend, Molly Blackstone, which involves autoerotic asphyxiation. It is brief, terrifying, and I believe necessary for the broad scheme of the narrative. Molly is 18 and Spencer is 17, one month short of 18. If you want to stop right there, I don’t blame you. But this is also a book about a young adult learning the difference between a caring friendship vs. manipulation, between a loving relationship and a toxic partnership, and most importantly, learning to embrace her self worth above the world’s noise.
Spencer has been at Molly’s beck and call since Molly first moved into town a decade beforehand. Molly is the It-Girl who many envy and she is also Spencer’s only friend. That’s true until unforeseen circumstances push Spencer into a brand new world where she meets a wonderful group of diverse young people who welcome her into their circle. This part was my favorite because it was a joy to see the ever sweet Spencer grow and begin a journey of self-acceptance, to bask in the sunshine of real friendships, and to find refuge from her abuser. And yes, Molly most definitely abuses Spencer, both physically and emotionally.
My least favorite part of the book is the ending which is suspense-filled but a bit drawn-out. I can’t say too much without spoiling. Still, I would recommend the book. Just heed the warnings and brace yourself for an anxious ride. 4 stars.
Thank you to the author for sharing this book with me in exchange for an honest review.