A convoluted love triangle (square? pentagon?) between the two Brogan sisters and an unnamed protagonist is chronicled from adolescence to adulthood in Don’t, which happens to be the mantra of their friendship. The phrase ‘Don’t’ summarizes the intimidating power of their relationship, one that endures bullies, business ventures, and even or rather eventually, babies. Initially attracted to Mandy, the more adventurous and gung-ho of the two sisters, the adolescent main character pursues her but is told up front that she has interest in his best friend Brian, although she proves to flip-flop between the two. He takes this in stride and begins forming a relationship with her sister, Susan, who is wise, brave, and unwavering. The twins, despite both their interests in the main character, have an extremely strong bond, holding their familial ties above all others. Throughout their many adventures (including law-breaking, picnic table making, and attending school dances) all three encounter the pains and desires that come with pubescence, acting upon them, and learning how to deal with the consequences. As they travel from middle to high school and everything that they tumble into afterwards, they remain closer than ever, heartbreak and new additions to the polygon aside. Written with wit and compassion, the strength of their bond, seemingly unlimited, will not be lost on readers.
The romance conjured by Mann’s quirky style is bound to be enjoyable, cheesiness and sometimes over-the-top wordplay (“When life gives you dilemmas, you make dillemonade…”) easily overlooked in favor of entrenching oneself in this character-driven novel. Readers will empathize with the struggles dealt with such as making a first real sacrifice or having a bittersweet love and invest themselves in moments and people of remarkable bravados, the kind only created during the brief moments of young adulthood. Mann handles all these with great attention and sensitivity, ambitiously capturing the nuances of the sisters’ and main character’s relationship with success.
|Page Count||359 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|